As our world turns, nightly news programs, newspaper headlines, and electronic newsletters often showcase bold diversity headlines. Workplace chatter has no trouble keeping up with the media.
Whether it's a comment from a coworker, boss, or customer, we are all prone to getting "hooked" on an issue that's near and dear to us, and expressing our views. The problem is that some of our opinions can unconsciously be hurtful to others and create tense workplaces that undermine teamwork, performance, and client service.
Managing and valuing diversity in the workplace encompasses everyone throughout an organization. However, not all employees have the knowledge, skills, expertise or time to do so, and many organizations can't afford the additional cost to hire a team or person dedicated to diversity affairs. Nevertheless, the cost of ignoring diversity in the workplace is much higher, including lawsuits, disgruntled employees on the job, and high turnover rates.
Do the people in your workplace have the sensitivity and skills to engage in these conversations respectfully? Do they have the courage to act as Diversity Change Agents? Are your managers skilled to address those who may have made offensive remarks? Are they sensitized to the "emotional baggage" that many people bring to work as politics and deeply personal issues collide?
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