Posted by: Canadian HR Solutions Inc. | December 12, 2011

Diversity, Tolerance, Acceptance and Beyond

Diversity has become a focal point for many organizations, but there is still a long way to go.  Diversity must be integrated as an on-going part of a savvy business’ overall strategy to meet the needs its employees and customers.

Companies that view Diversity as a business imperative typically employ those who represent a significant part of their customer base and these companies also view Diversity as the optimal solution for sustaining competitiveness, rather than a legal or moral issue.

Organizations, generally, reside on a continuum that ranges from complete resistance to Diversity in all of its forms, through the mid-point where the need for implementing Diversity practices is acknowleged, concluding with the other extreme of the continuum where full pluralism is embraced in such a way that difference goes beyond being tolerated and accepted – it is deeply valued. 

Organizational leaders can take the following actions to enhance the perceived value of personal, interpersonal, stylistic, national orgin, ethnicity, race, gender, language, ability, sexual orientation, marital status and age difference within their, respective, organizations:

Communicate Diversity goals.  Expand the frames of reference within the company by obtaining input pertaining to Diversity from a broad base of stakeholders.  Use this input to formulate and communicate pertinent Diversity goals.

Assess the present state of Diversity within your company.  This will provide a baseline for subsequent changes that occur.

Discuss ways to move past stereotypes and prejudice.   Managers and employees representing all disciplines and geographic areas of the company should be included in these discussions.

Identify ways to track organizational progress on Diversity over time.

Adopt Diversity best-practices being used by organizations in your field or community.  See what the competition is doing.  Contact local ethnic organizations that support your community and become better tied in with local demographics.

by Caroline Cole, Practice Leader, Canadian HR Solutions, Inc.

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