These  days it is inevitable not to talk about diversity in the workplace. Many organizations are seriously bringing up this topic in their boardroom, but not everyone is  sold on the concept or not sure what steps to further take. One of the reasons they might be reluctant is because they are only thinking diversity from a cultural point of view, but rather they need to keep business at the forefront – productivity and profits.

This is no different than having anti-sexual harassment  training in the workplace in the 1980’s when many  in the upper management felt it was uncalled for. Apparently this belief quickly changed when litigations started taking place against  companies.

It is no secret that the average North American workplace is becoming extremely culturally diverse.  And this  concept will only grow as the globalization continues to progress.

What is diversity in the workplace? Diversity consist of people from all walks of life working together, it involves gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, age, disability, education. etc.

Benefits: As the business world becomes smaller but more competitive, it is vital that your workforce is diverse. By having a diverse workforce, it  allows your organization to think out of the box to come to better solutions. In addition, when foreign experiences and different languages are spoken it allows companies to be competitive  on the world stage. And this ultimately increases productivity/profits.

Challenges: Once of the biggest  challenge many organizations encounter is to get everyone on the same page about  the importance of diversity. Then there are the elements of prejudice, stereotyping, cultural biases and discrimination. And when these issues are not resolved quickly then rift begins to set in.

Opportunities: Instead looking at diversity in the workplace as adversity, it needs to be looked upon as an opportunity. One of the best ways to overcome any type of obstacles is  have diversity/cultural sensitivity training on a regular basis, not once or twice a year. It is vital  that cultural harmony be restored in the workplace where everyone is respected and appreciated not only for their talent but as to who they are.