Diversity awareness is one’s ability to embrace the uniqueness of all individuals along several dimensions such as race, religious beliefs, ethnicity, age, gender, physical abilities, political beliefs, and socio-economic status.
Diversity awareness skills extend beyond mere tolerance to encompass exploration of such individual differences, respecting them, and ultimately nurturing a healthy relationship with the individual despite the differences. With the help of these skills, organizations foster a harmonious environment where mutual respect and equity are intrinsic, protecting the workforce diversity that is deemed necessary by any organization that intends to compete globally.
Why is diversity awareness important
You may have a good grasp over the concept of diversity and how it helps a business thrive but that is not sufficient. Unless your employees understand the significance of your diversity policy and its positive impact on their performance, willingly embracing it, your diverse workforce can tend to become a liability instead of an asset.
This is exactly where diversity awareness skills play their role. Employees with such skills will capitalize on the variety of backgrounds that their colleagues come from. They can all contribute to the increase in sales and growth of the business by providing their valuable insights regarding the best tactics to improve customer satisfaction. Therefore, any employee with good diversity awareness skills will stand out in terms of his perspective on customer needs.
How to improve diversity awareness as a skill
Knowing the several benefits (to the organizational and individual career growth) of a healthy work environment that they help to develop, following are some helpful tips for improving your diversity awareness skills:
- Frequent communication. Communication is your key to achieving the level of transparency and openness required for diversity awareness. Try to be more inquisitive in order to learn about the backgrounds of your colleagues, and also accept questions about your background without being unwarrantedly defensive. This will lead to increased awareness, understanding, and empathy.
- Avoid the clustering of people with similar backgrounds. If you are the manager, enforce rules such that people with diverse backgrounds, instead of people with similar backgrounds, share the same space. If you are seeking to improve your own diversity awareness skills, try to willingly pair up with individuals belonging to a different background than yours.
- Lead by example. Whether you are the manager or not, share your own stories with your colleagues and subordinate in order to show them that it is alright to be open about one’s unique background. Also, take immediate action against discrimination. It encourages them to accept the uniqueness of others while maintaining their own cultural identity.