A genuine Workforce Diversity Initiative is based upon respect for one another and the recognition that each person brings his or her own unique attributes to each endeavor in life. A workforce diversity vision is a commitment to provide equal opportunity for all employees to reach their full potential. Without action, however, this vision is meaningless.
There must be a commitment to build an exemplary workforce community that offers a nurturing and challenging intellectual climate, a respect for the spectrum of human diversity, and a genuine understanding of the many differences-including race, ethnicity, gender, age, socio-economic status, national origin, sexual orientation, disability and religion that will enrich the the entire workforce. community.
It is incumbent upon each individual to share the responsibility of creating and maintaining an environment of mutual respect and support. Instead of responding to rising diversity with fear and insecurity, we can treat our diversity as a strength and asset and devise ways of responding to it which enable our society to reap continual benefits no matter what the occupational field.
Multiple global working environments now will undoubtedly continue to serve as a meeting place for different cultures and it will be very important that all employees find ways to make those encounters positive experiences. Employees learn and work better when their work environment occurs in a setting where they are interacting with others who are unlike themselves.
The benefits of workforce diversity through the positive engagement of different cultures are that employees who experience the most racial and ethnic diversity in employment settings and in informational interactions with peers will experience the greatest engagement in active thinking processes, growth in intellectual engagement, and growth in intellectual and academic skills. Employees with the commitment to equity will be the champions of diversity ink every organization. They will be immediately recognized not only in our institution but in their community for valuing and leveraging differences to fuel innovation.
Support of positive engagements will make all employees feel comfortable encountering members of different racial, ethnic and religious groups. Support from senior management will have the greatest success of promoting the personal growth of employees and the institution as a whole. There must an institutional expectation in any organization that every member of the workforce embrace the underlying values of this vision and is willing to demonstrate a strong commitment to attracting, retaining and supporting all employees who reflect the diversity of our larger society.
We all must strive to take on the spirit and passion of the original "Freedom Riders" while walking the walk and always being cognizant of setting the example.
"Diversity is about allowing differences and respecting differences until the differences don't make a difference anymore."
John Fuller is the Diversity & Equal Employment Opportunity Consultant for Johns Hopkins Hospital. He has held prior EEO positions with Fortune 300, the US Office of Personnel Management, and the Department of Defense. He holds a Master of Science in Leadership/Business Ethics from Duquesne University and a Master of Arts in Education from Norwich University. John has been directly involved in EEO and prevention of sexual harassment training and EEO investigations since 1989.
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