Leveraging Collective Intellectual Capital to Drive Organizational Excellence

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Introduction

Diversity programs are becoming much more common in the workplace as agencies strive to understand and address the concerns of people within the organization who feel they are not included (either directly, or via representation from others with whom they identify) in the direction, prevailing culture, and management of the organization. The perception of non-inclusiveness, whether valid or invalid, has a stifling effect on the organization, creating an environment that inhibits people from sharing ideas and opinions that differ from the understood institutional norms. Failing to value and embrace Diversity leads to polarization within the workplace, creating an ‘us and them’ mindset, which is further exacerbated by personality dynamics and communication styles, often causing significant delays in productivity within the organization.

While Diversity training is important to recognizing our differences, a program that focuses solely on Diversity will not be successful. It is critical to incorporate the concept of Inclusion in any discussion of Diversity to ensure that participants develop a culture of like-mindedness that honors those differences.

Principles of Diversity

The principles of Diversity and Inclusion require that everyone work together to deploy best practices, tools and resources to maximize engagement, advancement, performance and job satisfaction. By fostering an environment that supports the Inclusion of Diversity, leaders empower their personnel to express their own unique voice and exert their influence over the growth of the organization, promoting innovation and employees’ connection to the organization’s purpose and mission.

“The principles of Diversity and Inclusion require that everyone work together to deploy best practices, tools and resources to maximize engagement, advancement, performance and job satisfaction.”

For a Diversity and Inclusion program to be effective, it must become a corporate strategy, linked to measurable outcomes which encourage personnel to truly embrace its concepts and place value on its incorporation in their daily lives. In the best Diversity and Inclusion programs, providing training to raise awareness is just the beginning of the process; employees and managers at all levels must understand and own their role in attaining the organization’s Diversity and Inclusion goals and work to develop skills that lead to business opportunities and optimized talent.