Celebrate Diversity in the Workplace

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By Dr. Sabrina Brandon Ricks, SBR Workplace Leadership Services

According to the Diversity Resources Blog, April has been recognized as Diversity Month since 2004.  This is a time to recognize the understanding of the differences among people and to have a better appreciation of how those differences positively impact the workplace and all that we do in society.  We want to celebrate the diverse county and country we live in and make more progress in implementing diversity in workplaces all around.  There has been significant progress, however, there is room for growth.  In many organizations, there is still a lack of diversity and a lack of understanding of how diversity improves workplaces as well as the customers and clients that organizations are interacting with on a daily basis.

Local Demographics

Based on research completed by Prince William County (PWC) demographer Brian Engelmann, it is estimated that the following highlights represent the PWC redistricting data by race:

  • White– 38.4%
  • Black or African-American – 19.7%
  • Hispanic or Latino – 25.2%
  • Asian – 10.3%
  • American Indian and Alaska Native – 0.7%
  • Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander – 0.1%
  • Two or more races – 5.4%

PWC is considered to be among the top 10 most diverse counties in the United States. It is essential that our workplaces reflect that same diversity, regardless of industry.  When a customer walks into a storefront property, calls an organization, or attends a virtual session, they should be able to find individuals that look like them and can relate to them.  This will allow them to feel they belong and that the products and services offered are focused on them.

Recognizing Differences

The same diversity alignment is necessary for new hires within the organization. It may take time to ensure an organization is diversified in the many employees they have, and the effort needs to be there.  These changes will allow organizations to expand their customer base, expand their offerings, and ultimately, increase the bottom-line for profits within the organization.  There are many opportunities for growth, tapping into new markets, solving problems you may not have known existed for a group before, and meeting the needs that may put an organization ahead of competitors in a given industry.

It is also essential to learn and practice cultural competency and to recognize generational differences.  Cultural competency is an opportunity for employers to ensure that they and their employees are familiar with how are recognize and respect cultural differences such as holidays, religious beliefs, dietary restrictions, and more.  Many competency areas are protected by federal law under Title VII Civil Rights Act of 1964. However, there are still areas in which employers can ensure they are educated and make their employees feel comfortable being themselves and making the organization a welcoming environment for all.

Five Generations in Today’s Workplace

Finally, according to AARP, there are five generations in the workplace today:  the Silent Generation (born 1928-1945), Baby Boomers (1946-1964), Generation X (1965-1980), Millennials (1981-1996), and Generation Z (1997-2012).  Without proper training and understanding of differences, the workplace would be filled with confusion as Baby Boomers and Generation Z try to work together.  Employers and employees need to ensure they are equipped with the knowledge of the differences across the generations and how to strive for peace and harmony in the workplace.

Although we as a society are on the right path for improving diversity efforts and that is to be celebrated, there is still work to be done.  Do not stop working to make improvements, grow professionally, and ensure everyone feels good when they step into your workplace.  SBR Workplace Leadership Services can provide guidance in diversity, equity, and inclusion workshops, organizational trainings, executive coaching, and more. Contact SBR Workplace Leadership Services to learn more.

 

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