The biggest change of my life was back in 2010, when I moved to Canada. It was more like starting life from scratch in a place where I didn’t know anyone. Coming from a country with a very different culture took a while to get settled in. Studying full time while also working full time was by far the most challenging task I’ve ever completed. All that slowly changed when I got to know the place and the people around me. I was sold on making a decision to make Canada a place I now call home. When I think back to that time, I remember jumping from one job to another – from working in retail in Canadian Tire to sales rep in a flower company to finally ending up at F12 as Purchaser.
When I moved to Canada, I quickly realized that diversity takes many shapes and forms. It extends way beyond race or ethnicity, it is culture, religion, the language people speak, gender, economic status, abilities, skills, interests and more. Differing aspects in an individual suggest how they see themselves, as well as how they see others. For a wide variety of workers to work adequately as a team, a number of factors need to be taken into consideration – communication style, resistance to change and adaptability. Successful team relationships value diverse work environments and are prepared and willing to spend time and effort on taking advantage of the differences between team members in the work environment.
Advantages of Workplace Diversity
Growth of an organization relies heavily on the ability to recognize the benefits of having diversity in the organization. When implementing the diversity plans in an organization certain benefits always come up:
Challenges of Diversity in the Workplace
While there are many benefits to having a diverse workplace, there are obviously going to be some challenges to overcome.
Here are some steps that successful diverse companies have taken:
Assessment of diversity
Successful companies make assessing their diversity process an essential part of their management system. These differences are not always necessarily cultural, even within one culture people can perceive their environments very differently. Performing a personality test would help companies deal with differences better. This helps management determine different types of team members they have and plan communication and personal development for employees accordingly. One such assessment that we use at F12 is called DISC. It groups people into four groups based on their communication styles. Everyone knows each other’s communication style and it helps to better share ideas and influence others.
Development and Implementation
Managing diversity in a workplace is no easy task, but it is achievable. No company did it overnight – time, effort and dedication is all it takes to fully take advantage of diversity and it starts with management recognizing the diversity in their team.