Dr. Patricia Arredondo & Dr. Renée Middleton

It is often said that classrooms and workplaces are where people come together from different backgrounds, identities and experiences. The work setting is a destination, allowing us to advance our interests, preparation, and skills, and to further learning.  It is also a place where new relationships are formed, where it is possible to work alongside or report to someone seemingly very different on a number of different dimensions of identity—from type of position, age, country of origin, and more. The workplace is a learning lab.

Diversity cannot be ignored because it is ever-present
Diversity or heterogeneity is present in all organizations as noted for groups who seem to share a similar identity, i.e., women, Latinxs, engineers, and Millennials, and so forth. Thus, when statements are made about “increasing diversity”, having more diverse leadership, or building relationships with diverse community groups, what is the meaning behind the use of “diverse”?  “Diversity” in one organization may mean something different in another one. What does it mean in your organization?

Meeting strategic goals through DEIB-informed thinking and actions
In AAG consultations, hiring teams often bring up the matter of diversity, or the hiring of individuals from underrepresented backgrounds. When a hiring team scans their organization (i.e., a bank) or specific unit, say Marketing, and observes that the current Marketing team involves primarily White men over 40, they may want to look at criteria that will lead to diversifying their portfolio of human resource capacity. A bank serving multigenerational customers, with locations in different socioeconomic communities, and increasingly immigrant families with different language backgrounds would be wise to have meaningful representation of individuals from these communities in their employee ranks.

Change out the bank to consumer goods, healthcare, city public services, universities, and other types of organizations. The same message applies. A business that wants to remain vital and viable will not want to ignore or overlook  the talents and experiences of individuals typically underrepresented or underemployed in the job sector.  Diversifying an organizations’ talent pools brings  alternatives of thinking and creativity that will benefit the organization’s goals and long-term viability.

Change is predictable
There are many lessons we continue to learn from the pandemic and CHANGE is most notable. A changing workforce brings with it debates about hybrid working and different accommodations for Millennials with young families. For the foreseeable future, it is a given, that workplaces will be multigenerational. For success in guiding and managing organizational culture change processes with a diverse workforce, leaders must accept that change is predictable and plan for and adapt to the new realities.