Characteristics & Traits of a Diverse Workplace

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A diverse workplace has many benefits. Not only does it include people from varying backgrounds, but it also gives them the opportunity to be more innovative, collaborate more effectively, improve team performance, and increase productivity. Find out more about what workplace diversity is, its benefits, and its key characteristics here.

What is diversity in the workplace?

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Diversity in the workplace is when an organisation intentionally employs a range of individuals from various backgrounds. The individuals can have a variety of characteristics, such as gender, religion, race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, and educational backgrounds. People who work for an organisation can also be neurodiverse. Neurodiverse people can have autism, ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, Tourette syndrome, plus other kinds of neurodiversity. One organisation that consists of various neurodiverse staff is Exceptional Individuals – around 80% of their employees and volunteers are neurodiverse. Having a neurodiverse team is an advantage because they can help other neurodiverse individuals find work.

What are the benefits of diversity in the workplace?

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  • Sparking innovation. Increasing diversity in the workplace enables employers and employees to “think outside the box.” Neurodiverse individuals also have this benefit. It also enables people to develop revolutionary new strategies, products, campaigns, and techniques. According to the Harvard Business Review, companies with a highly diverse team have 19% higher innovation revenues. Diversity also drives forward-thinking, innovative organisations to success.
  • Expanding an organisation’s customer base. The Harvard Business Review has found that organisations with a diverse leadership are up to 70% more likely to capture new markets. Diversity in the workplace also helps attract more customers.
  • Getting better answers. A New York Times article has detailed that interacting with diverse groups produces answers that are 58% more accurate.
  • More effective collaboration. According to a Changeboard study, diverse teams collaborate up to 57% more effectively than non-diverse teams.
  • Improving team performance. Diverse leadership drives team success across an organisation. A Deloitte article has shown that inclusive leadership has improved team performance by 17%.
  • Better decision-making. The same Deloitte article has also shown that diversity and inclusion in a team have improved the quality of decision-making by 20%.
  • Increased productivity. A Changeboard article has detailed employees in a diverse working environment work 12% harder than a non-diverse working environment.

What are the key characteristics of a diverse workplace?

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The key characteristics of a diverse workplace are the inclusion of people from various backgrounds, including neurodiverse ones, abilities and skills, ways of thinking and working practices. These key characteristics are just as worthy as the benefits of a diverse workplace.

Diverse employee backgrounds

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The employees’ backgrounds are based on factors such as their race, ethnicity, religion, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, and neurodiversity. Most of these characteristics are protected from discrimination under the Equality Act 2010, including in the workplace. Employees who possess these characteristics are treated equally regardless of their backgrounds. Employers can ensure they hire individuals from various backgrounds by publishing job advertisements in newspapers rather than the internet.

To prevent themselves from discrimination, applicants must not include any personal information about their backgrounds on their CVs. Neurodiverse individuals who are looking for work can send their CVs to Exceptional Individuals and Exceptional Individuals can update them on any new job opportunities that are relevant to their CVs.

Diverse abilities and skills

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Some unique abilities and skills that neurodiverse individuals particularly bring to the workplace are problem-solving, spotting trends, creativity, and data analysis. Other unique abilities skills that diverse teams can bring are analysing ideas, finding flaws, coming up with big ideas for marketing campaigns, following through on the ideas, and making them come to fruition.

Employers who wish to create a more diverse workplace can undertake diversity training to improve their ability of dealing with a wide range of situations. They can also enhance cultural awareness, confront unconscious bias, mitigate microaggressions, and combat stereotypes.

Diverse ways of thinking

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Neurodiverse individuals can display various ways of thinking. These include imaginative thinking, critical thinking, analytical thinking, and creative thinking. A workplace where its employees think in diverse ways makes it possible for them to contribute to projects together.

Thought diversity is often the result of other types of diversity because the way employees think is shaped by the cultures and experiences they have lived.

An employer who implements processes that celebrate thought diversity means opening themselves to the idea that their ways of thinking are not the best ways. Re-ordering their day-to-day operations can improve thought diversity by making the workplace more accessible to a larger group of people. A diverse workplace enables employees to express their perspectives and needs in a way that makes them feel safe.

Diverse working practices

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Employers should establish a sense of being for everyone to bring their best self forward. A working environment where employees feel that they can be themselves can result in them increasing their creativity and engagement.

The practice of inclusion is ongoing, not a one-off training exercise. Inclusion requires individuals to identify key moments where they can build new habits or “micro-behaviours.” Micro-behaviours are daily actions that individuals can practise and measure.

One way to deliver these practices is to change cohorts within the organisation outside the executive or management level. It also involves equipping individuals with the skills and information to help them champion change within their departments, teams, and working groups.

Please visit the links for information on recruiting neurodiverse employees and neurodiversity employee support.

Blog Author

April Slocombe