The Power of Diversity!
The concept of diversity in the workplace is more apparent within our organizations than ever. It both enriches and challenges work teams. It also sometimes challenges managers in their management of human resources. But what do we mean when we say diversity? Is it a fad, or is it really an issue for organizations?
From an anthropological point of view, the eminent researcher Claude Lévi-Strauss, who spent his life studying ancient and modern civilizations, recognized the multitude of cultures born throughout history and wondered whether cultural diversity was advantageous or disadvantageous for humanity. His answer: How else can the advancement of civilization through the ages be explained if not by the cultural richness of this diversity? Similarly, UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) established a parallel between cultural and biological diversity. Just as biodiversity is necessary for a balance in nature, cultural diversity is necessary for humankind. It is an “ethical imperative, inseparable from respect for human dignity, a driving force of development”.
From a human resources point of view, diversity management is now mostly seen as a tool to consolidate an organizational culture based on respect and equality. Omnipresent in today’s organizational world, diversity—cultural, social, and generational—is a concept that HR managers can no longer avoid. An extremely competitive market demands that organizations take it into account more than ever in order to survive. All organizations are called upon, at some point or another, to open themselves to diversity, whether by attracting new minds of the younger generation, by seeking specialized expertise abroad, or by offering products and services to clients around the world.
Diversity management has become a key issue for HR. An increasing number of companies want to improve their position by establishing a strong brand image marked by equality and openness. How? By assessing the ease with which potential employees interact with people who favour different work-related approaches and values. By measuring a future employee’s openness, employers ensure to select the best: those employees who can easily adapt to diversity and propel the organization to new heights!
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