Is Diversity an Issue?
Yes! A brief peek into current events will show you that diversity is definitely an issue, even in today’s day and age. Recently, Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, has been plastered all over the news in light of the racist and derogatory comments he has made regarding African Americans. Unfortunately, this type of behavior is nothing new. Every week, we see similar issues related to diversity: everything from hate speech to crimes perpetrated against individuals based solely on their cultural background, race, or gender.
Of course, it’s a hot button issue. But it’s also incredibly important to think about, especially in the corrugated industry. We all know that increased workforce diversity is the morally proper course of action, and is required by law, but assembling a diverse team of employees of differing backgrounds, cultures, and levels of expertise can also have a positive impact on your return on investment.
Natural Precedents for Diversity
We only have to look outside our windows to the natural world to see the benefits of diversity in action. For instance, Great Danes are majestic animals, regal and enormous, with males standing almost three feet high at the shoulder. They are commanding and beautiful – and yet, Great Danes are at particularly high risk for a genetic disease known as hip dysplasia that can greatly decrease the animals’ quality of life. While hip dysplasia is known to effect other large dog breeds and some smaller dogs as well, Great Danes are at very high risk – especially if they are pure bred, and lack genetic diversity.
In another example, lions are often depicted as the rulers of the natural world. And for good reason – male lions cut an imposing figure, prowling the prairies of sub-Saharan Africa stalking their prey. Lions are another animal that demonstrate the need for natural diversity – while females in a pride are often related, males are young and strong and arrive, unrelated, from outside the pride, battling one another for dominance. This natural diversity in leadership helps to keep the pride strong.
Think about these ideas in terms of the corrugated industry, and you can begin to see a strong case for workplace diversity, in that it keeps the team strong.
Diversity in Business
How diverse is your workplace?
This is an extremely important question. Diversity is especially important in the corrugated industry, where there is such a high rate of turnover. Believe it or not, promoting higher rates of diversity in the workplace can improve employee satisfaction, strengthen your team, and, as mentioned above, generate an increased return on investment.
Why is this true? When we refer to diversity, we’re talking about individuals of differing race, gender, cultural and professional background, differing ages, and differing ranges of experience. A diverse workforce promotes a greater exchange of talent and ideas, so that rather than stagnating, your business can focus on innovation. A diverse workforce is more likely to question “the way we’ve always done things,” in order to find a quicker or more efficient method.
Abraham Lincoln was president in a tumultuous time. The country was embroiled in a bitter civil war, and the rest of the world was watching. Lincoln was under a lot of pressure to choose the right path, and the right path was not always obvious or easy.
Why am I telling you this? Because Lincoln appointed one of the most ideologically diverse cabinets in American history. He appointed advisors from different geographical areas of the country and colossally different political leanings. Why did he do this? It would seem that in a time of unrest, it would be most beneficial to appoint a host of like-minded people to really hunker down and get things done.
Not so. Lincoln saw the diversity of his cabinet as a way to promote healthy discourse. And it makes sense. When individuals are forced to explain or defend their ideas, it’s easy to see which ideas are strongest.
In other words, if the ideas of his cabinet members could stand up to good-natured interrogation, perhaps they were really worth considering.
The Bottom Line
Promoting workplace diversity is not only morally proper and legally required, it’s healthy for business. We see precedents for it echoing through history and all around us in the natural world.
It’s time to increase diversity in the workplace.
With a team of varying backgrounds and abilities, everyone benefits.