Is There Such a Thing as Being Too Diverse?


If there is one thing to get out of life, it is to find the right balance for a wide variety of things. We are told about the importance of a balanced diet, how eating fruits and vegetables counterbalances the occasional culinary splurge of consuming hearty foods. Career experts explain the importance of balancing our personal and professional lives. All of this talk about life’s ongoing balancing act leads us to ask one question.

Is there a balancing act we need to have for implementing diversity and inclusion policies? Better put, is there such a thing as being too diverse?

A Reminder about the Benefits of Diversity

Diversity overkill can be detrimental to any organization that tries to get too much out of a good thing. However, with the right balance of diversity and inclusion, your organization can benefit from implementing a comprehensive diversity and inclusion program.

Wide Variety of Skills and Experiences

Recruiting a team of qualified professionals from a wide variety of backgrounds helps spread around knowledge to improve the overall performance of your organization. Let’s say a team member working in human resources has a tech issue. He or she can lean on a qualified computer information systems professional to fix the problem and learn about a new business concept in the process.

Fostering an Innovative Approach to Business

Although you want to pursue the same business goals with every other employee, you also want to encourage different approaches to solving business problems. Diversity fosters innovation by soliciting input from a wide variety of experiences.

Employee Performances Excel

Several studies have associated improved employee performance with a work environment that makes diversity and inclusion a top priority. Recruiting employees that come from diverse backgrounds help the entire team feel more confident in achieving the goals established by your organization.

When Diversity and Inclusion Goes Overboard

If you put too much sugar into a cup of coffee, the robust flavor of the coffee gives way to a candy cane like taste sensation. If your organization puts too much diversity and inclusion into the company manual, you run the risk of producing several negative results.

Ramped Up Tension

Different cultures have different views that concern political, religious, and lifestyle issues. Diversity and inclusion overkill can create tension in the workplace because of ethnic and cultural differences. For example, a workplace that is mostly female might experience an increase in tension because of the addition of several new male employees.

Increase in Employee Turnover

Let’s face it: Not everyone is attuned to diversity and inclusion policies. This does not make certain professionals intolerant; it just means some people prefer a work environment where things stay the same. A rapid and expansive implementation of diversity and inclusion policies can lead to a costly increase in employee turnover.

What is the Right Balance for Diversity?

It might seem hip to jump on the diversity and inclusion bandwagon, but as a human resources professional, you have to have compelling reasons to implement diversity and inclusion policies. Promote diversity by first demonstrating why a diverse workforce benefits your organization. Then follow a few proven practices that answers the question “What is the right balance for diversity.”

Your Professional Peers Want Transparency

You cannot expect your professional peers to buy into a diversity and inclusion policy, if the policy involves trying to secretly meet certain hiring quotas. Your fellow workers are smart enough to see what is going on around them, especially when it comes to the new employees brought onboard the organization. Make sure to make the criteria used for hiring the same for every job candidate.

Equal Opportunity Policy is a Must

Establish an equal opportunity policy to educate job candidates about your organization’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. Since actions speak louder than words, hold one or more career fairs to interact with minority candidates that have what it takes to thrive working in your organization.

Diversity is More than Hiring

Yes, recruiting a diverse workforce goes a long way to ensure your organization is regarded as inclusive. However, it is just as important to retain a diverse workforce by creating an environment that is conducive for meeting professional goals. Mentoring employees is a powerful way to retain the brightest and most productive members of your diverse organization.

Workplace Versatility

You cannot expect to nail diversity and inclusion, if your organization takes a monolithic approach to creating the optimal workplace. Some of your team members might want to work at least part time from home to address ethnic and cultural needs. You have heard the timeless phrase “Never try to fit a round peg into a square hole.” This means have an open mind to meet unique employee circumstances.

Be Ready to Change Diversity Policies

It is unfortunate, but it is a fact of implementing diversity policies. Biases can seep into the recruiting, training, and retention processes. Workplace diversity policies should be used to promote inclusion, but when the policies actually exclude other employees, the time has come to modify the approach to diversity and inclusion.

Diversity does not represent a dirty word that gives some employees an unfair advantage over other employees. That is, if your organization can avoid being too diverse.

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