Diversity is a broad category, one that refers to differences in race, gender, age, disability, religion,sexual orientation or nationality. Diversity essentially means differences. Workplaces have become far more diverse over the past several decades than at any time in history. There are a number of reasons for this increase in diversity, including anti-discrimination laws and a changing workforce. In addition, anincreasingly multicultural world contributes to workplace diversity.Diversity has many positive effects. When people of different cultures work together, the company benefits from a wider range of perspectives, opinions and experiences. However, understandings and problems can arise if coworkers do not embrace diversity or if employees are unable or unwilling toaccept and embrace differences.
Increased diversity means an increase in different perspectives and ideas. Those from different races,religions, cultures or sexes may have different experiences or ways of addressing issues. These differingcultural beliefs and backgrounds can provide a perspective that allows a business to grow and expand. Itcan contribute to problem-solving also, as people view situations from their own unique backgrounds and brainstorm ideas that may have never been considered.
Diversity becomes an issue when employees or employers do not embrace differences and look for similarities. People from different cultures may not understand each other's customs or beliefs. Someemployees may resent being faced with diversity.While the regulations that brought diversity to the workforce typically provide protection for workersagainst hostile work environments or unfriendly workers, it is up to the employers to ensure thatindividual employees know how to work together. Sensitivity training and education about differentcultures, backgrounds and beliefs may be essential in creating a harmonious workplace made of diverseindividuals.