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(October 15, 2004) -
Could someone please tell us what
"Diversity" is? When looking, we get the following various
The Company endeavors to model
for the state and nation, a community of individuals who seek what is best
for each other. The Company respects and significantly benefits from
diversity such as may be expressed through racial/ethnic, gender,
cultural, disability, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic differences.
It takes seriously its responsibility to offer educational and
professional opportunities equitably to all qualified persons it can
accommodate. The Company provides understanding and supportive interaction
among diverse population groups and respects individuals' personal values
Diversity is a reality created
by individuals and groups from a broad spectrum of demographic and
philosophical differences. It is extremely important to support and
protect diversity because by valuing individuals and groups free from
prejudice, and by fostering a climate where equity and mutual respect are
intrinsic, the company will create a success-oriented, cooperative and
caring community that draws intellectual strength and produces innovative
solutions from the synergy of its people.
Diversity is a value that is
shown in mutual respect and appreciation of the similarities and
differences (such as age, culture, education, ethnicity, experience,
gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, etc.) that make people unique.
An environment where diversity is respected is one where as individuals,
and united as members of teams, we can effectively apply all of our
talents, skills and experiences in pursuit of business objectives to our
You have to keep the lines open. Listen to
what's being said. Show respect for the differences you see and mine the
advantages they provide. Make sure your competitive edge is not being
dulled by your inherent drive to adapt and assimilate. Talk about the
value you place on workforce diversity.
The concept of
diversity encompasses acceptance and respect. It
means understanding that each individual is unique, and
recognizing our individual differences. These can be along the
dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic
status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political
beliefs, or other ideologies. It is the exploration of
these differences in a safe, positive, and nurturing environment. It
is about understanding each other and moving beyond simple
tolerance to embracing and celebrating the rich
dimensions of diversity contained within each individual.
Diversity is "otherness," or those
human qualities that are different from our own and outside the groups to
which we belong, yet are present in other individuals and groups. It is
important to distinguish between the primary and secondary dimensions of
diversity. Primary dimensions are the following: age, ethnicity,
gender, physical abilities/qualities, race and sexual orientation.
Secondary dimensions of diversity are those that can be changed, and
include, but are not limited to: educational background, geographic
location, income, marital status, military experience, parental status,
religious beliefs, and work experiences.
The term diversity, when applied to people,
means a wide range of cultures and subcultures that represent a variety of
values, ideologies, beliefs, languages, behaviors, symbols, customs and
If an organization is to stay in touch with
a demographically changing marketplace, its employees must understand
their role in building an environment that attracts, fully utilizes, and
retains the best and brightest employees. But they must first recognize
their biases and assumptions about those whose appearance, physical
abilities, age, background or beliefs differ from their own and understand
how their attitudes translate into behaviors that impact their peers and
DIVERSITY-BASED: a basic understanding of, a
commitment to, and a valuing of the unique perspectives and differences
that people bring to relationships. Decisions and behaviors are driven by
a cognitive awareness and emotional acceptance of diversity as a positive
concept with positive impacts on existence. Diversity Based becomes part
of the essence or bedrock of an individual. Diversity Based is an
individual understanding, a commitment, a valuing of diversity in a way
similar to what is meant when behavior and decisions, or education, are
described as values-based. Being diversity-based is more than having
diversity awareness of self and others, and knowing how that influences
behavior. These are important beginnings. The diversity-based commitment
is marrow to the bone and soul.
We believe that there is something powerful and
important to be discovered when an organization makes a commitment to
developing the maximum return on its investment in Human Capital. We're just
having a hard time coming up with a single, useful definition of the term.
You'd think that there would be more to the question that the measured
righting of old wrongs.
We're probably taking the question too
seriously, but we wonder:
Is a workforce population that reflects
local diversity adequate?
Is diversity different in different parts of
the country? The world?
Does the term "diversity" confuse
the question to the point of uselessness?
How do you know when your diversity is good
enough? Who's the judge?
Can you have too much of a good thing?
How do you balance diversity and bottom line
ie, Sending a woman to
negotiate a contract in Saudi Arabia?
We're struggling on this one. While we clearly
see the theoretical benefits of a culture that mines differences for its
advantage, we wonder why, in all of the stuff on the web, there is so little
direct correlation between diversity and profitability. We're open to your
ideas and pointers.