When you think about diversity, you probably immediately think race, color, or gender. However, diversity is much more than what’s on the surface because it includes internal differences in personality, information, and culture. Surprisingly, these three types of diversity can have a big impact on your business. And according to the Harvard Business Review, research suggests that diversity in business encourages innovation and drives market growth. This key finding shows that business executives — no matter what field they’re in — should embrace diversity in the workplace.
The Importance of Blending Different Personalities
Student design teams from The American Society of Mechanical Engineers indicated that their teams work better together when they’re composed of students with different personalities — even though it takes longer for the team to cooperate.
According to psychology, teams work better when there’s a blend of different personalities because it avoids groupthink, which is when a team values harmony over accurate analysis and thorough evaluation. Rather than having the entire team succumb to groupthink, the blend of personalities encourages new ideas, in-depth analysis, and constructive conflict, which will lead to better solutions overall.
Giving your employees a personality test, and assigning them to teams based on their results, can encourage success in your workplace. In fact, about 3.5 million personality tests are administered each year. Most tests come from businesses, where about 80 percent of Fortune 100 companies rely on this test to build stronger and more effective organizations!
The Importance of Informational Differences
Diversity is based on informational differences as well, such as educational background, previous experiences, and personal values or goals. For example, if you have an employee with a degree in business and another with a degree in economics, they bring different points of view to the table. Likewise, an employee who earned a degree in business within the past few years brings different information than an employee who earned a degree in business thirty years ago. Equipping your department with a diverse set of informational backgrounds can ensure your business is running as efficiently and up-to-date as possible.
The Importance of Recognizing Intercultural Communication
Since the advent of globalization, more companies are marketing, manufacturing, and selling products all over the world. This has spurred a conversation about intercultural communication, which is the study of how different cultures verbally and nonverbally communicate with each other.
As cited in the New York Times, when a group of employees was transferred to a different country, they received a copy of a manual written by consultants who worked in that country. It discussed meeting protocols, dress codes and telephone and cultural etiquette — which was very different than what they were accustomed to in the U.S.!
It’s important for businesses to remember that different cultures potentially think, speak, and communicate differently than their own. As a standard business practice, learn more about how different cultures communicate with one another and educate your employees!