Understanding Components of Diversity: Importance and Types

Understanding Components of Diversity: Importance and Types

The Facts

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There are various components of diversity in the workplace. Diversity in the workplace is one of the most important considerations in this day and age. Diversity refers to adequate representation in the workforce. However, the word diversity can sometimes have only general connotations. It is easy to forget that diversity has several niche layers and components.

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The goal of cultivating a diverse workplace should involve representation from all types and components of diversity. A holistic implementation of diversity policies can have even better success in the workplace. 

If you are looking for modern diversity training that is used by companies such as Blackberry and Stanford University to help build empathy through narrative storytelling while using effective tactics to reduce social and psychological barriers to inclusion, equity, and diversity, contact Impactly today for a free demo.

Here are the four components of diversity that must be implemented in all diversity policies in a workplace.

Internal Diversity 

Characteristics that can be considered elements of internal diversity are those with which the individual is born. They have no control over these characteristics. Neither did they choose these for themselves. Consequently, they are impossible to change. Discrimination on these characteristics is highly common in daily life and the workplace. So, it is necessary to protect against discrimination based on such characteristics in a workplace diversity policy.

Examples of internal diversity are as follows:

  • Race
  • Age
  • Nationality and origin
  • Sexual orientation
  • Ethnicity 
  • Assigned sex
  • Gender identity  
  • Physical appearance and ability 
  • Mental ability 

External Diversity 

The term external diversity describes things that are part of a person's identity and life experience but not necessarily characteristics that they were born with. The distinguishing factor is that while these characteristics are an important aspect of an individual, they can be changed over time. 

Examples of diversity are as follows:

  • Education
  • Hobbies
  • Physical appearance
  • Religious beliefs
  • Family and marital status
  • Socioeconomic experience
  • Life experience

Organizational Diversity 

Organizational diversity is also known as functional diversity. It is mostly related to workplace structure. It refers to differences between individuals assigned to them by the organization. Therefore, organizational diversity refers to characteristics within the company structure that distinguishes an employee from another.

Examples of the diverse structures in an organization are myriad. Any individual working as an intern, freelancing, or having a full-time position in an organization can be considered part of the organizational diversity. This principle applies to groups as small as that of two or anything higher. As long as individuals work on getting in, their work structure is that of an organization. 

Based on these examples, different subsets have emerged within organizational diversity. They are as follows:

  • Job responsibilities
  • Location or place of work
  • Status of employment 
  • Management roles
  • Seniority 
  • Pay type 
  • Affiliations to any union

Worldview Diversity  

The fourth component of diversity is worldview diversity. Several factors together worm an individual's worldview. These factors can even include internal, external, and organizational diversity characteristics. Based on all these factors, an individual forms a worldview, and there is a need to implement diversity policies that include these different worldviews as well.

Characteristics that form worldview diversity can and usually do change over time. Therefore, this diversity component is the most dynamic and thus the hardest to make policies for. Therefore, due to its malleable nature, the extra focus must be given to worldview diversity while making policies. 

These nuances of worldview diversity can be categorized as follows:

  • Moral ideology
  • Political inclinations
  • Moral and philosophical outlook on life
  • Epistemology

Importance of Implementing Components of Diversity

The four components of diversity need to be combined to reap the benefits of diversity policies in the workplace. These benefits are multiple and range from employee satisfaction to productivity and profits. 

Here are some of the best benefits of implementing these four components of diversity. 

  • Different perspectives: A company is always looking for different perspectives to be on top of the innovation and excellence game. The four components of diversity can ensure that such different perspectives are brought forth. 
  • Increased problem-solving ability: These four different components of diversity ensure that the workforce has a large pool of life experience, personal backgrounds, and opinions. These various points of view can result in more productive discussion and better problem-solving abilities. According to Scientific American, a diverse workforce is a well-rounded one that can deliver more creative solutions with better quality of work. 
  • Reaching a larger audience: Any company that is able to implement these four components of diversity has essentially reached most groups in society. This can certainly give the company a positive reputation and help capture market share rapidly in comparison to competitors.
  • Increase in job applications: A diverse hiring policy allows for equal opportunities for all. This can attract more job applications, giving the company a larger pool of applicants to choose from. This larger pool can also mean an increase in the quality of applicants, which is something an organization always looks for. This will also give a sense of satisfaction to the applicants as they will be rest-assured about instances of discrimination. 
  • Increase in revenue and profits: These components of diversity can also help increase profits. This sentiment is backed by studies as well. Mckinsey & Company, a leading statistics firm, companies that implement components of diversity are 33-35% more likely to perform better than their industry peers financially.  

How to Implement Components of Diversity 

Implementing these components of diversity is a step-by-step process that can seem too long and confusing. So here are some tips and tricks to implement components of diversity in the workplace.

Diversity in Hiring 

  • Post about job openings on different job boards: In order to ensure diversity in hiring, a company has to reach out to specialized or niche job boards that cater to diverse people. 
  • Implement unconscious bias training for trainers and senior management: Unconscious biases are those habits that lead to discrimination without the person even noticing. It is important to conduct unconscious bias training to teach recruiters, employees, and management how to be sensitive regarding their biases and help them avoid such behavior altogether. 
  • Create and offer targeted internships and scholarships: Another way to ensure diversity in hiring is to create and offer internships, scholarships, and hiring incentives to underrepresented groups of the community.

Ensuring Diversity in the Workplace

  • Creating diversity friendly policies: Companies should review their existing policies to ensure that they are diversity-friendly to all. If not, the policies can be restructured to include flexible work and leave schedules, community-building activities, and a variety of meal choices. 
  • Diversity mentorships: Diversity mentorships are an interactive method of implementing the components of diversity in the workplace. These mentorships can help foster inclusion and introduce people to different perspectives. 
  • Create evaluation metrics: After implementing these policies, it is important to establish an evaluation metric so as to evaluate progress. These metrics can evaluate the accomplishment of pre-set goals and provide a picture of the future work required. 
  • Create internal communication channels to foster diversity: Another way to promote diversity in the workplace is to establish an internal communication channel dedicated to diversity. These channels can be supplemented through blogs, print materials, storyboards, and newsletters that highlight stories of diversity in a fun interactive manner. 

Final Word

These four components of diversity create a mesh of diversity characteristics that must all be implemented in the workplace in order to establish diversity. In today's day and age, society and employees care deeply about diversity, and therefore the company needs to ensure these requirements are met. Each type of diversity is distinct and necessitates its management technique for people to be effectively integrated. Diversity is a journey, and like any journey, it demands meticulous planning.

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