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Work and Study with Diverse People

Governments around the world have long been promoting diversity programs and laws for equal opportunities in work and educational environments. 

Companies know today that increasing diversity in their workplace has a measurable impact on their own financial growth. Same tendency applies to education providers or student centers such as schools and colleges where diversity is encouraged. However, what is it meant by diversity? Does it refer to people´s differences in gender, disability and sexual orientation? Or, is it a more extensive concept? And what is the most successful way to work with diverse people

Information and tips on how to work with diverse people will be addressed in the following sections. 

  • What is it meant by diversity in workplaces and learning centers? 

Diversity simply means variety. When it involves people, it has many edges: cultural, linguistic, disabilities, social and religious beliefs are some of its angles. Race, sexual orientation, gender and age differences also count as people´s diversity. In the workplace and learning centers, diversity generally means having people of different backgrounds, gender, ethnics, interests and/or impairments. 

  • What is the most successful way to work with diverse people? 

Working with diverse people implies having co-workers coming from different cultural and social groups and communities, having differences in race, sexual orientation or exhibiting disabilities. It has been found that key elements to satisfactorily work with diverse people involved effective communication, mutual respect, and understanding.  Offended workers, for instance, have little interest in performing a good job and/or integrate well with co-workers. 

You might need to be more flexible to assimilate diversity at your workplace. For instance, working with people of different ages is a sign of diversity that allows sharing of experiences with older people whereas younger co-workers can let you in the grasping of new technologies and software data. 

Company norms and policies that promote inclusiveness and equal opportunities for everyone will set the ground to have diverse workers as employees. One strategic action can be to train staff on diverse people awareness, especially regarding main cultural diversity issues. These actions usually stimulate diverse customers to buy and use services from such companies, thus increasing their net earnings. 

Racial diversity and equality in gender status, as well as labor benefits (in some companies women are still not seen as suitable candidates to supervise men), have also proved to be barriers that need yet to be overcome by companies and workers. 

One value added to companies that employ diverse people is respect for others ideas. This has been shown to promote more innovation and creativity in the workplace and open the door to managers and technical leaders for better decision-making. 

Being open about sexual orientation, the presence of disabilities -some disabilities can be kept hidden- and religious background can also allow for more freedom and respect between co-workers. Unjust treatment due to these matters can become real problems in the workplace. 

For some employees, having diverse people as co-workers can be challenging. One way to confront this situation is to position yourself in their shoes, acting according to your personal values, and, offering but also expecting back a lot of respect which is something that everyone deserves. 

Try to avoid all types of confrontation with co-workers, especially if this can lead to more serious legal issues such as being in, or, taking people to litigations and court. 

  • What is the most successful way to study with diverse people? 

Studying with diverse people usually implies encountering many different cultural and social backgrounds. 

Sharing school and outdoor activities with diverse people is always a learning experience. For instance, if they speak a language you don´t know, try to learn a few expressions in this new language to encourage communication and welcoming of your student mate. 

For most cases, sharing work and/or study with diverse people is not only the fair thing to do, but it's also a very rewarding and gratifying experience!