Diversity is not just about race and gender and it goes far beyond what you can see. Diversity includes, but is not limited to education, sexual orientation, physical ability, thinking style and functional experience. We are all different and we need to embrace each other’s differences, not just tolerate them. We all have our own sanskaras, which in Hinduism, are the impressions derived from past experiences that form desires and fears that influence future responses and behavior. In layman’s terms, it is our world view based on what we were taught by our parents and what we have experienced in the past. It is thought that we perceive through the imprint or conditioning of past experiences, which can cause us to form biased opinions of one another.
The largest barrier we have is a lack of awareness that we all contain these pre-existing biases of one another. The best thing we can do is to get curious and seek opportunities to educate ourselves about different experiences. Diversity finds better solutions and contributes to productivity. If we can learn to look beyond identity differences and start embracing each other’s sanskara, we can work better in teams. Contrary to popular belief, differences within a team do not destroy teams; not being able to embrace differences and manage conflict destroys teams.
According to George S. Patton, “If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.” So what does this mean for small to medium sized businesses? It means that if you want to stay competitive, it would be in your best interest to have a diverse workforce.
Here’s why the best business decision you can make is to hire a diverse work staff:
- Diversity drives sales. In order to be successful in the constantly changing consumer demographics, companies not only need to provide quality service to their customer base, but they need to connect with their customers as well. Building a workforce that represents the diverse ethnic, gender, etc. groups allows a company to better connect with their target markets.
- Diversity hires talent. With markets going international and competition being fierce, why hire someone because you “like” them? Focus on skills, competencies and experience to find someone who is truly qualified for the job. While you’re at it, evaluate your preconceived notions and you’ll see how you’ve been narrowing your talent search all along.
- Diversity creates healthy conflict. Small-business owners may hesitate to hire a candidate considered different than themselves or the rest of the staff because of conflict that may arise. But consider this – new innovative ideas rarely emerge from comfort zones.
The differences among us are invaluable assets and we need to learn to appreciate them, so we can take advantage of the benefits diversity has to offer.
If you have any questions or would like to learn more about this topic, please reach out to Genesis HR Solutions at AskUs@genesishrsolutions.com or 800-367-8367.
Genesis HR Solutions is the premier PEO provider for Massachusetts based businesses.