What Is Diversity Consciousness?
Diversity consciousness is the basic recognition that communities and workplaces in the United States are becoming more diverse. By being aware of the impact of diversity, your company is more prepared to take advantage of diversity benefits and counter potential conflicts that can result when people with different backgrounds come together.
Whether your company is aware of diversity or not, the reality is the U.S. is become more culturally diverse. From July 1, 2008, to July 1, 2009, minorities made up 49 percent of births in the U.S. This also means businesses are employing more diverse work forces and will continue to do so. Consciousness of these developments helps you take advantage of diversity by proactively building teams that have diverse qualities and backgrounds. You can also offer training that makes employees familiar with cultures that differ from their own.
Diversity consciousness makes you open and inviting to the distinctive qualities offered by different people. Diversity is generally regarded as a positive because with employee variance in age, gender, race, ethnicity and culture, you get a broader range of perspectives. In teams, this leads to more ideas and more thorough discussions of opportunities and challenges. Diversity consciousness also makes your business more able to meet the needs of a diverse market.
It isn't enough just to recognize that diversity exists and being aware of its benefits and challenges. Companies that thrive on diversity train employees in cultural awareness and sensitivity to others. Team training is also important if you create diverse work teams. People who come from different backgrounds and different life perspectives don't naturally see things in the same way. This makes it critical to build a culture of respect, communication and tolerance.
Diversity consciousness also helps your company develop and maintain a non-discriminatory work environment. Operating a fair hiring process leads to the most qualified and capable people getting jobs. You can also coach employees and evaluate them on their communication and acceptance of diversity. To truly promote an open atmosphere, though, your company needs to stand behind its words. Besides having no tolerance for discrimination in your workplace, you can support community causes and organizations that champion diversity.