Diversity of Thoughts in the Workplace: Are You Thinking What I’m Thinking?
August 1, 2018
In my most recent blog post I discussed Digital Shadows’ Women’s Network and how it is helping us shape wider conversations on diversity and inclusion. In this blog, I want to unpack-diversity of thought and how businesses benefit from a diverse talent pool.
In 2013, Deloitte released a new research report on Diversity of Thought and described this concept as: “The idea that our thinking is shaped by our culture, background, experiences, and personalities”.
By harnessing and promoting the different ways in which we all process information, organizations can reap many tangible benefits. Some of the top being:
Increased employee engagement and retention
You’ve hired a diverse workforce…now what? By promoting diversity of thought within management styles, companies can not only retain employees longer, but also provide a more meaningful experience at work, one that’s more personalized to learning preferences and allows employees to play to their strengths.
Decreased groupthink and cognitive dissonance
Deloitte points out that by increasing diversity of thought, employees are less likely to disregard new information or be afraid to challenge the status quo. Your workforce will feel safer to present new ideas and, more importantly, to disagree. In turn, this may also lower cognitive dissonance (e.g. believing one thing, but doing the other).
Ultimately, diversity of thought fosters one of my favorite concepts, psychological safety, which is a shared belief amongst teams that they perceive they are safe to take risks, and is one of the core indicators of highly effective teams.
Happier clients means more revenue
An article that Glassdoor wrote in 2017 showcases how Diversity and Inclusion programs can directly affect revenue and client success. For example, Hilton empowers leaders to build diverse teams because they are able to harness different skill sets for the unpredictable moments that happen oh so often in a hospitality-driven organization.
As a service-based company ourselves, we value constructive conflict, differences in opinion, and want to further promote the unique backgrounds and traditions our workforce brings.
While the benefits of promoting diversity of thought are clear, it’s not easy to make these changes. Organizations will need strong leadership backing in order to not only train managers on more inclusive management styles, but also to reconsider their organizational policies to ensure they cater to a diverse workforce (flexible working hours, parental leave, etc.).
My most recommended leadership strategy book, Profit from the Positive, promotes the concept of getting the “best” out of your employees, not the “most”. Even more so, keep in mind that the best of one employee is always different than the best of another.
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