Maximising Employee Diversity for Innovation

One of the fortunes of any organisation is a convergence of diverse talents and capacities embodied as employees. When properly nurtured and adequately harnessed, it puts the company at a position beyond the reach of its competitors. The reason is that problem-solving becomes easier and innovation flows ceaselessly.

Diversity is important in the workplace for businesses to thrive. Imagine recruiting people of different backgrounds who are bringing different experiences, energies and talents to the organization. The fusion of all their ideas, if well directed should yield better results. Here are three ways to encourage diversity into your organisation.

A good way is to create opportunities for Internship. This is a door to welcoming individuals from various backgrounds to work within your organisation and share their ideas. It is also a good way to encourage your existing staff as it exposes them to working with professionals from other fields. By doing this, you would be able to realise their talents early enough and decide to retain the exceptionally good hands who can positively impact the company and add value by virtue of their specialties.

For NGOs, what is called, ‘Fellowship’ can be incorporated, where professionals from various fields put their knowledge to use in order to assist the organisation voluntarily for a period of time. This helps to broaden knowledge on how to better run the organisation.

Good executives know that it takes the right team and the right skills to win. However, there are usually unvoiced biases about people from other fields who hope to build a career within the organisation. It is important not to hush them when they bring forward their suggestions. Hence, there is the need to set up regular forums for discussions and create an environment where all employees can evaluate ideas and make innovative contributions, irrespective of their professional backgrounds.

Finally, focus on talent and potential without compromising quality. Although diversity has its benefits, avoid recruiting less qualified candidates. Companies need to encourage diverse employees by identifying and leveraging on their strengths and pushing them to areas where they can be of good use. Managers should be cautious not to look down on employees with expertise not directly aligned with the company’s core objectives. Do not merely include them but accept them into your organisation. If treated like misfits, they might lose their sense of worth and duty. These employees may be skilled in other areas and should be included in various aspects of work, and given opportunities to make constructive contributions.

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