Tying together a diverse workforce

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This is part 3, the final part, in a series on how to create the perfect team.

Previously, we’ve visited the needs of an having an emotionally intelligent and intrinsically motivated staff. In this article, we’ll focus on how important it is to have a diverse staff.

One of the major buzz-terms that employers have been focusing on for the last couple decades is diversity. The term “diversity” often inspires images of gender differences, cultural differences, age differences, and lifestyle differences. However, diversity in the workforce also must refer to employing people who are different from each other as far as personality, likes, strengths and weaknesses, passions, and interests. A workplace is like an engine in a car; to accurately work, there need to be different parts. It is imperative that one assemble and develop a team that is composed of people who are introverts and extroverts, have different personalities and varying skillsets. This is where you – the leader – comes in.

There are two ways that you can affect the diversity of your team. First off, hiring. It is important to find the right balance for your team so that your staff reflects who your customers are. The second part, however, is the trickier one and requires savvy. As the leader, it is your responsibility to tie your staff together while honoring and encouraging diversity. Some ways that you can do this:

1. Identify unique attributes and strengths in employees and give them roles that allow these strengths to shine (check out the strengthsfinder test if you haven’t… it should help with this!). If Jimmy is a person who is extremely organized and loves spreadsheets, give him some administrator duties. If Jenny is a person who is a complete social butterfly, make sure she is customer facing.

2. Encourage diverse ideation. Create a way for your employees to contribute ideas for their workplace. Consider having a potluck day once a month where people can bring a food dish that they love to make so that you can celebrate cultural diversity. Perhaps you can have a month per year where you celebrate women in leadership and you can draw attention and awareness of how new this movement still is. Or…you can see what your team submits as ideas 🙂

3. Model. Modeling is the most consistent and practical application for tying diversity together in a workplace. Model tolerance, enthusiasm, respect, empathy, and model inclusion. People want to be included and welcomed into a group. Your employees will be looking at you for how to do this… so set the example.

Our world has never been as diverse as it is today. This is something that ought be embraced and celebrated, as well as utilized in our businesses. When we can harness and honor diversity, we reflect the diversity of our customer base, and our workplaces  profit immensely… so go do it!

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