Trying to define diversity when it relates to people at work can be tricky as the word itself it can be interpreted differently by different people.
One of the most common ways to define it is to say that it means acknowledging that people can be different because of their culture, race, religion, sexual orientation etc. Having said that people are not alike for many other reasons and can be different from each in other non visible ways. However generally speaking when the difference is because of a individuals race, ethnicity or gender etc then it is generally referred to as diversity.
The definition of diversity can mean being aware that every person is unique not only because of their visible differences like race, age or disability, but also non visible differences like religion, social background, economic status, or political beliefs.
Diversity can also be taken to mean personal characteristics, and a particular style of working.
Promoting equality means accepting, understanding, valuing and respecting these differences and ensuring that all people are treated equally regardless of their background.
Diversity is a important issue within the UK because we now live in a diverse country that has people from many different ethnic, social and minority faith backgrounds. This fact is reflected in the workplace. It is primarily because of this reason that government and responsible employers place such importance defining diversity and also on promoting equality, inclusion and fairness in the workplace.
Defining diversity in the workplace
Research has shown that when HR managers and also job seekers were asked this question they responded by saying that to them it meant:
- Promoting equal opportunities in a work environment.
- Dealing fairly with all members of staff.
- Having a inclusive culture in the workplace that combats stereotyping.
- Actively looking to recruit people from diverse backgrounds.
- Promoting retention programmes to ensure minority groups stay and do not leave.
- Produce publicity material to promote their company and brand as being diversity friendly.
The benefit to a organisation that promotes diversity and whose employees are tolerant and respect differences is that it will create a work environment where everyone feels valued. This in turn will help people to maximize their potential and show their full talent and thereby make a contribution to the whole organization.
Diversity in the UK