DIVERSITY IN A NUTSHELL
SOME FUNDAMENTAL DIFFERENCES IN THE REASONS IT IS EMBRACED
I want to talk about investing in human capital as opposed to investing in and thinking about social capital, which is something that came up today while talking about embracing diversity in the workplace and with our customers. The benefits of embracing diversity and accommodating people's differences and their practices and beliefs can be looked at in polar opposite ways. I think many businesses are after economic advantage, a better bottom line and would see taking on board diversity as just taking steps to open up new markets, improve their reputation (in turn leading to increased profits) and retain staff (thereby reducing their costs to retrain new staff, again making improvements to the bottom line). Would businesses that see these kind of benefits be in it for the 'right' reason? Is there anything wrong with this?
If a company is ethically grounded, they may be embracing diversity because it's just the 'right' and just thing to do, it's a human approach. The reasons they will recognise and embrace diversity will be to foster staff happiness, satisfaction and loyalty (which will of course increase productivity too, but the company is out to achieve staff happiness). These companies seek to create effective relationships within their organisations because they value social capital.
Again, it comes down to truth and honesty in why you've embraced something like diversity. It looks like and smells like falseness when a company is most interested in the 'image' they will portray to the outside; it's when embracing diversity is crossing into marketing and advertising. When showing the world you have disabled staff, for example, is what matters, not actually just having a diverse staff, some people detect the false motives, and are turned off. It's when seeing to be inclusive is more important to the company than actually truly being inclusive. Who notices this? I do.