Most of us have experienced some aspect of diversity in our everyday lives, so what makes it so complex? The answer lies in our different interpretations of the concept. We all have conscious and unconscious biases that affect our decisions about others.
In speaking with diversity champion, Joe Gerstandt, I asked what people don’t know about diversity. Here’s a few of my favorite takeaways from our conversation:
“Most people don’t think about difference.”
Diversity doesn’t refer to any single thing like faith, gender or affirmative action. It extends beyond ethnicity, religion, or race. Even our smallest differences affect the human experience.
“Most people don’t have a clear understanding of diversity and inclusion.”
When you ask what diversity means, you’ll get a different definitions from every person you poll. We simply don’t have a common understanding of the concept. From an organizational standpoint, your definition of diversity needs to be clear enough that your employees can both understand and reiterate it.
“Intention is not enough.”
Diversity initiatives are too often forgotten after that initial training session. This failure is often due to the fact that diversity is not hard-wired into the company’s programs, processes, and systems.
To read the rest of my conversation with Joe Gerstandt and learn how to integrate diversity into your organization, read the rest of my post on the University of St. Thomas’s blog.