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When thinking of a diverse workplace, one may ideally envision a company or organization made up of an approximate proportion of the people who live in the larger community.
Let’s first look at Miriam Webster‘s definition of the word ”diversity” before we continue this dialogue. Diversity is the condition of having or being composed of differing elements: variety; especially: the inclusion of different types of people (as people of different races or cultures) in a group or organization. Additional elements of diversity include gender, age, ability levels and religions.

My top 7 benefits to diversity in the workplace:

1. Customers, vendors, and employees are requesting to work with companies that reflect their values. Companies that do not keep up with the times may be left behind.

2. Products will be more representative of what local markets are looking to buy. A diverse team will bring the wisdom and knowledge of various cultures to the drawing board. The end result has a higher chance to serve customers from all larger community with the highest quality. If for instance a company was targeting a particular group of people for a marketing campaign and no one on their team had a true understanding of that group, the marketing campaign may inadvertently miss their target market.

3. People from different backgrounds may have the opportunity to get to know each other and open their horizons to new and different ideas.

4. Employees from low-income communities are able to bring economic stability to their families and move gradually towards middle-class status, thus lifting up their family members and communities as well.

5. Stereotypes can be broken when co-workers see each other working on the same team for the same goal with a variety of skills and talents. If all team members are treated with dignity and respect, new bonds of solidarity can form in our overall social fabric.

6. When children from low-income communities see their parents and community members having solid careers in all different fields, they are more likely to succeed and gain the necessary education and credentials needed for their future success.

7. It’s not just what’s right, it’s good business.

Feel free to add more…

Something I’ve realized in the past few years is that when we are individually on a good path, we’re better suited to step out of our comfort zone and give back to our communities in both time and money. How many times have you heard someone say, “When I win the lottery, I’d give…” or “When I retire, I’m going to start volunteering for…”? Times are changing and trends are definitely pointing out that volunteers are starting at earlier ages and incorporating their service with their ever shifting lifestyle: from high school to college to early in career to parent to executive to retiree.

We all at some points in our lives question where we are on our path, what our priorities are, and where we’d like to be in the near future. If we had that “great” job or lived in that “perfect” house, would we be that much more stable or more content? What if we just had a daily schedule that we were happy with: a lifestyle that supported us, meaningful relationships with our friends and families, and overall home and life security. At that point, is it possible for us to start giving an hour a month or week to help others in need?

Something that people are often surprised about is how fulfilling the simple act of giving can be. Maybe the compassion we share with others will come back to us in other ways. Maybe it will help us in how we define our life needs.

When first researching volunteer opportunities, what first comes to mind may be beautification projects, serving a meal at a soup kitchen, or event specific services. These are wonderful activities, but the world of volunteering is much much bigger. When considering non-profit organizations, it’s important to view such organizations as a type of company that aims to serve the community. All companies have similar departments that help the organization run on a daily basis: marketing, finance, accounting, customer service, sales, facilities, etc. Maybe what a non-profit needs right now is not someone to plant a garden in the front of their building (although that may be a bonus); perhaps what they need more than anything is someone to help with grant writing, marketing, or to be a volunteer teacher.

You may be reading this thinking that back-office volunteer opportunities are not as fun as beautification projects,  but if your overall goal is to help the organization, you may be able to help further their mission and at the same time, build/enhance skills that you can take back to your job. Volunteering doesn’t have to be 100% selfless, its purpose should be to benefit the majority, just don’t forget to include yourself in that equation!

About Me

adina pic This blog is created to share and dissiminate easy ways for any concerned citizen to be an agent of change in their community and the world at large. Please join in the conversation towards progress.

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