Diversity in the Workplace: What It Is & How It Helps

Mamie Albritton, Jennifer Lombardo
  • Author
    Mamie Albritton

    Mamie is current a Graduate Student at the University of Southern Mississippi. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Child and Family Sciences with emphasis in Family Relations. Upon graduation she earned her Certified Family Life Educator Credential. She has been a leader in her courses and assisted with tutoring for several years.

  • Instructor
    Jennifer Lombardo

    Jennifer Lombardo received both her undergraduate degree and MBA in marketing from Rowan University. She spent ten years in consumer marketing for companies such as Nielsen Marketing Research, The Dial Corporation and Mattel Toys. She is currently an adjunct professor of marketing at Rowan University and a social media marketing consultant.

Learn about the importance of diversity in the workplace. Explore different types of diversity and contrast diverse and non-diverse workplace situations. Updated: 06/28/2022

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What is Individual Diversity?

The definition of individual diversity is that people understand that each person is their own individual with their own unique background and personality. Individual diversity also recognizes the individual for their differences that make them unique. There are many things that make people unique such as their age, their gender, their race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, physical capabilities, and spiritual beliefs. Our differences in diversity are mostly centered on biological and demographic characteristics. These characteristics are things such as gender and race. Overall, these things that make us diverse are all things that some individuals share, and some individuals differ. No one person is the same, and individual diversity acknowledges that fact and seeks to understand that differences are special. Diversity can cultivate thought by incorporating different ideas and perspectives from different types of people. People are constantly growing and learning, meaning that we can constantly grow and learn new ideas from each other through our differentness.

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  • 0:05 Diversity Characteristics
  • 0:59 Age
  • 1:45 Gender
  • 2:29 Race
  • 3:21 Tenure
  • 4:34 Lesson Summary
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What are Different Types of Diversity?

As mentioned earlier, there are many things that make up our differences. We will briefly discuss and define the different types of diversity. The first type is cultural diversity. This diversity is based on an individual's ethnicity, not necessarily their race. Ethnicity is defined as being of a specific social group with its own beliefs and backgrounds. This differs from racial diversity in that racial diversity specifically refers to physical characteristics, such as being Black, Hispanic, or Native American. Ethnicity also refers to these backgrounds, but in a way more indicative of cultural beliefs. Experiencing these types of diversity in the workplace just means seeing people of different backgrounds and physical appearances working together in the workplace. Religious diversity means that there are many people around with many different spiritual or religious beliefs, such as Islam and Catholicism.

There are also some forms of diversity that are not as common to think about. Education Level diversity simply means that in a workplace, there are many different positions available for varying levels of education. For example, a person with a Graduate degree may be in a position of authority, but at the same time, a CEO of the same company may have never completed college. Age diversity implies that there are many people both young and old and everything in between working together in the same company. Citizenship status diversity is the idea that many people in a workplace have different statuses of citizenship. Some may be naturally born in the country in which they are working, some may be naturalized through extensive paperwork, and some may be working through a visa issued by the government. Tenure is the length of time that a person has been working for a specific company and can be a type of diversity because most people get hired at different times and work for a company for different amounts of time. Lastly, neuro-ability and bio-ability indicate an individual's level of cognitive or physical functioning. This means that people that are neurodivergent or require physical assistance in the workplace are provided with a comfortable and consistent place to work that meets their needs.

What is Diversity in the Workplace?

Diversity in the workplace is important because everyone is different and comes from different backgrounds and has different experiences and can add valuable insight and thoughtful ideas to the workplace agenda. It is important, in the workplace, to acknowledge the individual strengths and differences of the employees and acknowledge the value of their strengths and differences. In order to do so, a workplace must be a safe and inclusive environment for all different types of diverse people groups and the workplace must provide everyone with equal opportunities and equal rights. Workplace diversity has many benefits, such as an improved awareness of culture which broadens the scope of business allowances, a better reputation for the business which increases profit, and an increase in marketing abilities; because people are more interested in working for and purchasing from companies that they feel would value them and share similar beliefs and perspectives and if all perspectives are included, everyone can feel valued by that company. Lastly, diversity in the workplace increases productivity because of the influx of different ideas, more people working on solutions to problems, and a more broad range of skills and competencies.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are examples of diversity?

Diversity comes in many forms. It can be religious or spiritual diversity, culture or racial diversity, educational diversity, neuro & biological diversity, or age diversity.

Why is individual diversity important?

Individual diversity is important because people need to understand that everyone has unique backgrounds and differences and that those differences can bring value.

What is diversity and why is it important in the workplace?

Diversity in the workplace means that there are many different people groups represented in one workplace. This is important because it allows for different opinions and values to permeate the company, making it more relatable to society and more profitable in the long run, while also creating a more inclusive and supportive work environment.

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