Diversity is a simple word that contains many human variables. Diversity represents the distinctions that exist
between individuals to include: culture, race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomics, age, physical and mental
abilities, sexual orientation, religion, language, appearance, personality, learning and thinking styles,
communication and conflict styles, family status, geography, military status, education, life and work experiences,
functional responsibility in a given organization, etc.
Diversity work in organizations involves understanding and leveraging similarities and differences of all people
involved in accomplishing the mission. It is a process that allows diverse groups of people to maximize
productivity, creativity, and enjoyment to reach their full potentials without being advantaged or disadvantaged
by irrelevant or limiting factors.
Diversity work is defined here as the process of creating a culture, a set of values, a mind-set, a system, an
organizational climate that is flexible and skilled enough to promote, support, respect, and value the multiple
differences that exist in society as an asset to be valued and sought after. It is recognized that the group
intelligence and performance of heterogeneous groups is higher than that of homogenous groups when systems
and skills are in place that create an environment of inclusion, trust, collaboration, and respect and the ability for
each to reach full potential.
Creating high-achieving, diverse and dynamic learning organizations is the goal. This involves developing
processes to ensure that the diversities of employees, current and future clients, vendors, the community, and all
stakeholders are taken into account in every plan and every decision. Diversity work is an active process that
requires an investment in time, resources, and change. It is a paradigm shift from a history of intentional
exclusion to an intentional full utilization of resources. Valuing and managing diversity will require policies.
relationships, procedures, practices, benefits to be reviewed and revised to ensure fairness, equity, and
competitive advantage. Diversity work means not only increasing awareness, but also changing the system to
support differences for the benefit of all.
The purpose of unity and diversity work in organizations
is not to divide a united nation,
but to finally unite an extremely divided nation.
Valuing our rich human diversity will help this country be
what it says it wants to be.