Your workplace culture is determined by its people and the types of diversity that are present. The more diverse and unique your people are, the richer your culture will be!
Just like a painting with many different types of colours makes it vibrant, the more unique your people are in every sense of the word, the more solutions, experiences and ideas your organisation will have available to it.
But diversity in itself, is diverse!
It’s a phenomenon which has the ability to redefine how you address business problems, serve your customers and treat your employees.
It’s important you educate yourself about the different types of diversity to learn how you can enrich your organisation’s cultural fabric.
With that in mind, I’m going to cover off on some of the types of diversity that can enrich your workplace culture to help you grow and become more inclusive of difference.
Here are seven types of diversity:
This is the diversity of race. It refers to differences in race, like the colour of the skin, facial and physical features and more. There are many different types of races:
- American Indian or Alaska Native
- Black or African American
- Hispanic or Latino
- Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander
Different races have different ways of thinking, and therefore, different ways of solving problems which can give your organisation many solutions to a given problem. Not just that, by employing people from different races, you boost your chances of attracting a wider pool of talent when hiring.
The food you eat, the language you speak, the religion you follow and the customs you abide by makeup diverse cultures.
Working with people from different cultures can be a very enriching experience since you’re exposed to so many different ways of being and living.
Adapting to different types of cultures tests the adaptability of your employees and makes them more open minded.
Having different types of personalities can be very enriching for your organisation’s culture.
You may have those who are quiet and reserved, and then you may have those who are extroverted and outspoken. While we each prefer our own ways of working – and who we work with – understanding difference and the unique qualities everyone can bring to the table is invaluable.
You may hire people with different physical abilities, such as the vision or hearing impaired, as well as physically disabled people.
Doing this supports inclusion and brings unique perspectives and ideas to the floor. Boost disability inclusivity within your organisation by:
- Establishing formal ERG processes
- Partnering with disability advocacy groups
- Improving accessibility
- Developing mentoring/sponsorship programs for people with disabilities
Gender, sex, and sexual diversity have nuances and some people may not be clear on their differences.
Gender diversity is defined by the individual and how they view and expect others to view themselves. While many cultures assign a gender at birth to a child as either a boy or girl, there are a few common non-binary gender identities including transgender, gender queer, gender fluid.
Some of your colleagues may identify differently from what you perceive. It is courteous to inquire about their preferred pronouns.
Sexual diversity covers both sexual orientation and a person’s biological sex. Common sexual orientations include heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual, asexual, pansexual, and questioning. While biological sex refers to the biological and genetic differences between male and female bodies.
Create an inclusive workplace that supports gender and sexual diversity by:
- Educating staff about different identity terms
- Normalising the sharing of gender pronouns
- Formalising ERGs to support your LGBTQIA+ colleagues
- Building habits of inclusion in your every day
- Understanding your unconscious biases
Neurological differences need to be recognised as another way in which humans are different from each other – and it’s this difference that brings unique ways of thinking and working to any workplace environment.
Research shows that neurodivergent people have the ability to recognise patterns, retain information, and excel in design ways of thinking, which are critical skills for any job.
Other types of diversity
Apart from the above types of diversity, there is also the diversity of worldview which consists of things like political beliefs, moral values, general outlook on life and other aspects. There is also diversity in citizenship status, age, family and upbringing, ideologies, morals, social roles, education, income, socio-economic status, life experiences and more.
Being aware of the types of diversity is of course important, but the other part of the equation is being inclusive of all. This means making use of inclusion practices to leverage all types of diversity so that the impact can be felt on the bottom line.
That’s where the 6 habits of inclusion come in.
You need to:
- Acknowledge the uneasiness of difference with all of your diverse employees. Get honest about it and intentionally build a bridge. This involves owning up to the uncomfortable feeling you have because you don’t understand how your diverse employees approach things. It also means acknowledging that your diverse team players have a lot to bring to the team.
- Communicate as one team. Fight the unfamiliarity of difference, trust and dive in. Always be pulling together the whole team, and know that each person contributes to your company’s success. You must have the courage to create the type of trust that’s at the heart of a family.
- Be intentional in challenging the status quo. Be ok with failing, learning, and being wrong. Always be willing to try new approaches!
Being truly inclusive is about having a very high growth mindset, which means you have the confidence to accept that you may not know everything about being inclusive of every person. I can see that the leaders who are most successful at being inclusive have this. They are willing to admit that sometimes they don’t get it right. They also are open and honest when it comes to the difficulties they face with diversity management, which is all about acknowledging the uneasiness of difference.
They understand that they are on a never-ending learning curve and that being inclusive is a journey of discovery that doesn’t have an end. They can also answer the question – why is inclusion is important? It’s about constant improvement and learning every day!
Support your leaders to be coming inclusive of all types of diversity
Take your first step today!