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Creating a Diverse Workplace

05 Dec 2019

Having a diverse mixture of staff can really help improve the work environment and the business as a whole.

When we say diversity, people will often think this just means gender, ethnicity, age and cultural background, however it’s not just that. Diversity also means bringing together different mind sets to improve the way your business flows.

Cognitive Diversity

Cognitive diversity refers to the different ways people think. Different mind sets offer different skills, this can often be seen when we look at someone who thinks creatively and someone who thinks logically, of course many people can be both creative and logical, but having a mixture is a great way to improve your business.

The term cognitive diversity is a concept that comes from the difference in perspective and information processing, therefore it isn’t always directly linked to the most obvious factors such as race and gender.

Personality

Personalities are vitally important in the workplace.  It’s always important to remember that you’re hiring humans and not machines, therefore understanding that people have different personalities and characteristics is important in order to create a diverse environment.

Why is this important? Well, you wouldn’t want all your staff to be the same, some people are nurturers and can help mentor other staff, some people may be leaders and help take the weight of management.  All these different characteristics make up one whole in the workplace and when they’re all looked after for their individuality, you will find the workplace thrives.

Of course, there can be clashes of personalities in a workplace, but this can also be manageable by thinking strategically on where people sit in the office to avoid cliques, but to also put leaders and nurturers with less confident staff in order to help them develop.

It’s not uncommon for us to get on with people who are more like us, but the saying goes ‘opposites attract’ and that’s for good reason as this helps us balance different people out to avoid clashes. If you keep your staff in their comfort zone, you won’t get too far. The reason is simple: if you hire people that think the same, you will get more of the same results.

Unconscious Bias

One of the hardest factors to overcome as a recruiter or as an employer is unconscious bias. Our unconscious bias can create barriers that restrict diversity in a workplace, but this is just one person’s perspective. Many people have the ability to adapt, so when we look at a person, we may not think they’re suitable for a particular work environment, however, we should see what skills and experiences they can add to a particular environment in order to help it evolve. If we constantly keep hiring the same kind of people with the same background, the environment doesn’t get a chance to keep changing and gets stuck in a bad cycle where it can’t always flourish to it’s true potential.

By being diverse, it’s an opportunity for people to learn, communicate and interact with people of different mindsets and from different backgrounds. It has a direct impact on businesses as you’re encouraging your people to develop new skills and new solutions. Also, it has been proven to boost performance and creativity.

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