Why you should embrace workplace diversity

People sometimes say “It takes all sorts to make a world” when they are describing odd behaviour.  For instance, if I was feeling charitable I might use this phrase to discuss a woman who plans to marry a tree.  On a less charitable day, I might use other descriptors.  But, the phrase is equally valid in many instances, including the microcosm of a workplace.

Not that there is a lack of unusual behaviours in the workplace – there’s the loud talker, the aggressive typer, she who takes phone calls in the toilet, the kitchen slob, he who slinks away from paper jams…

But, odd behaviour aside, it really does take all sorts to make a great team.  People with different skills, education, life histories, work histories, strengths, abilities, tastes and characters can all combine to create things that alone they never could.

Stephen Covey, American businessman, educator and author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” once said “Strength is in differences, not in similarities.”  It’s so true.  Great businesses are successful because they embrace diversity and encourage their people to be individuals.

Diversity in the workforce has become a buzz word, and we’re anti buzz word, bordering on allergic.  However, the crux of the diversity movement rings true.  There are many studies that show improved results from diverse teams over homogenous ones, and anyone who has worked in a diverse team would acknowledge the stark benefits it brings.  Workplace diversity breeds new thinking, innovation and spark.  Without it, output can be lack lustre.

It’s important when recruiting to keep an eye on diversity.  It’s really easy to lean towards hiring people who are just like you, therefore creating a team of cookie cutter clones.  That’s not going to take your work from great to out of this world amazing.

Cuckoo lives and loves workplace diversity.  We consciously seek people that fit in to different boxes [or don’t fit into boxes at all] and come from different places and head spaces.

We have found scanning the range of footwear at a meeting to be a good way of conducting a diversity check, because a great deal can be said of people by their footwear.  So if we have the ballet flats, the trainers, the steel caps, the stilettos and the oxfords present, we know we’re well positioned to start creating something special.