Harnessing the Power of Thought Diversity

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Trust is the foundation of all relationships. When it comes to family, mutual trust flows naturally. At work, it’s another story. In today’s diverse workplace there’s a way to tap into the power of that diversity, to build trusting relationships, and it’s a far cry from the annual company picnic. At Venture Up, we embrace diversity of thought as the way to build team relationships over time.

Diversity is a blending of different backgrounds, not confined to the race-gender/religion divisions, according to Millennials in a 2019 Deloitte Global Study. Given that Millennials will comprise 75 percent of the workforce in 2025, viewing diversity in a more generalized way is the path to the future.

Diversity seen as a blending of different backgrounds is less divisive than categorizing people into boxes according to specific identities. What it all comes down to is we all think differently, according to our life experience, and there’s a wider variation of personalities, perspectives and approaches to solving problems and getting things done efficiently on the job.

When Venture Up works with client employees, we meet them for the first time, usually during a 2-3 hour event breaking from a conference or training session. When processing our activities, Venture Up leaders often hear things the employees, by their very admission, would never tell HR. Sure, they joke about it, but they fear criticism or being labeled if they share the same heartfelt opinion that their fellow participants accept without judgment.

One thing that tends to alienate some employees from HR is the jargon. One participant defined “Diversity and Inclusion” as a behavior in which you should be kind and welcoming to everyone, but you also have to “tippy toe around for fear of offending someone.”

That overly tall guy has an idea. Artist: Zadok Ben-David, San Diego County Operations Center.

In the words of human psychologist Abraham Lincoln, “You can please some of the people all of the time … but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”.

There has always been a divide between HR and employees. The very people who extoll the benefits of the workplace, are also in charge of the firing process. Employees naturally trust each other more than their leaders, just as do the teams on the battle field. But work shouldn’t be a war. HR can bridge the gap by hiring the right people to create a more comfortable workplace where employees feel free to share ideas without being shot down.

HIRING: Who’s the most fun?

Americans no longer need to travel the globe or visit another neighborhood to experience the enrichment today’s diverse workplace offers. In an age where the value of a college education is being questioned, savvy HR leaders are breaking through the status quo and favoring the employee who not only has the skills and knowledge for the job, but the personality and open mind that can help cultivate the untapped power in richly diverse group. We’ve heard some HR managers hiring an applicant primarily because she was light-hearted and funny; “Not something you generally find in an engineer.”

The fun and friendly staff member fosters a more comfortable environment. They break the ice, and can lead shy or reticent employees out of their shell to contribute more. They help drive the fear out of the workplace.

No Boundaries

The ideal team member is open minded, willing to listen to others, putting personal beliefs and judgments aside. When all team members agree to adapt this behavior, a world of opportunity opens. When employees feel free to take a risk, which is a lot easier with a group of peers, they build strength and confidence and are able to solve problems and accomplish tasks far easier than if everyone stayed in their “identity box”.

Harnessing the power of diversity of thought:

–  Inspires innovation and enhances creativity.

–  Allows for cross-pollination of ideas.

–  Stimulates productivity.

–  Creates a more functional (and fun) work culture.

Venture Up is but a component in the process to get employees to open up and relax with team members, but also, to some degree, with HR. While it is no secret that HR is on the side of the entity that employs them, they rely on the backbone of the organization — its employees — for the overall success for everyone.