Why is diversity in the workplace important and what do business leaders need to prepare?
Planning for the future can be a challenge given the ongoing nature of the changes in play. As a result, while it is difficult to predict exactly what future work will look like, the nature of the shifts we are experiencing puts an emphasis on developing particular skills in the present—many of which are centred on becoming better collaborators and problem solvers. The great news is that gaining these competencies empowers the whole person—granting us the opportunity to use our individual talents and grow in confidence, while better serving our teams and organizations.
The modern workplace is a microcosm of society at large. Each department can be likened to a little slice of life, each representing the complex demographics of the world that HR professionals inhabit. One aspect of workplace culture that has changed dramatically is the integration of minorities, and not just gender-related, but other minorities as well such as members of the LGBTQ community and the disabled.
When people think of workplace diversity, the first thought that often pops into their head is legislated hiring quotas. However, true workplace diversity is about so much more than meeting quotas. In fact, if your only goal as an HR professional is to meet quotas, you’re potentially sacrificing some of the best candidates available to you.
In this article, we argue instead that a “leader” is anyone who helps others see their own leadership potential, and HR professionals are uniquely positioned to be just such leaders within their organizations. In fact, their informal sphere of influence is much bigger than they realize, as they often have connections across the organization and access to talented people in every function and at every level.
A recent report by the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion (CIDI), in partnership with the University of Guelph, examined the issues of self-identification, inclusion and discrimination in the workplace for LGBT+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual trans-identified, and other sexual and gender minorities) employees.
Organizations face many key challenges in today’s market. Case in point: The first wave of baby boomers have started to retire. This reality has created a skills and knowledge gap in the workplace.