How to Maintain a Diverse Team – and Succeed
Since Unison’s inception in 2010, diversity has been an integral part of growing our team. Why? Because bringing together a team with different backgrounds and perspectives is inherently important to how we approach everything, from day-to-day discussions to company-wide decision-making. But while the benefits of diversity in the workplace have been reiterated time and time again, there’s always effort that goes into ensuring that our team’s diversity, from age and gender to sexual orientation and background, can be harnessed to take our work to the next level.
What it comes down to is empowering everyone to have a voice – and use it. Often, men and women communicate differently. So do millennials and Baby Boomers. But what we’ve found to be true is that there is no right way, and in fact, when our teams can learn to communicate with those different from them and feel confident doing so, they become more perceptive and understanding, which trickles down to their work performance.
Another key to successfully maintaining a diverse team is weeding out those who don’t get along with or are difficult to deal with on a team. How do you handle a high-performing employee who can’t acclimate to a diverse team? Unfortunately, this is a question that many managers have to deal with, and the answer is always the same. Teamwork is so integral to the performance of a company that when there’s someone impeding that collective performance, it’s in the company’s best interest to let that person go.
At Unison, we’ve been able to reap the benefits of a collaborative, diverse team by prioritizing and valuing a diverse team as a core value. I still hire the best and brightest people I can find, but I make sure that those people both fit a need within the company and can bring a new perspective to the team. Maintaining a diverse team comes with its challenges, but ultimately, it’s increased my chances of building a more successful company that will stand above the competition. So what’s the secret?
The key to fostering a more inclusive work culture is to embrace differences. Differing viewpoints, experiences, and professional and personal backgrounds make your team unique. Leverage those differences to further develop your team, company, and industry by harnessing the strengths that each team member brings to the table, and encourage acceptance and a culture of curiosity. The benefits that you reap from this approach will be immense..
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