It is humbling to be reminded that our planet holds a diverse collection of human beings. Numerous races, various gender identities, vast assortments of religious backgrounds, and physical disabilities differentiate us from one another. Yet, while time has shown that differences are a part of that coexistence, time has also proven our ability to find commonality and develop an understanding of one another.

 

The workplace is a microcosm of the world’s diversity — from individual contributors and leaders to every department accountable for the growth of your organization. With all these differences, will individuality provide you with more benefit than harm? Let’s discuss this and more about how to embrace individuality at work in with celebrating the Global Diversity Awareness Month. 

 

Diversity Begins with Individuality 

Before we understand the relationship between individuality and diversity, let’s first focus on what individuality is. In shorter terms, it is the totality of what makes someone. Every person has a set of characteristics and ideals that complete their being. Interestingly, science tells us that no one person is ever 100 percent the same as another human being. Thus, their skin color, mental capabilities, personality, or gender orientations may differ greatly. The combination of these factors makes someone distinct as an “individual.” 

 

On the other hand, diversity is the sum of every employee’s differences. Employees’ backgrounds create a rich culture and community, where each person’s uniqueness is a catalyst for people to bring something good to the table. As their employer, connections within your organization will grow when you find ways for every employee to connect despite differences. Ironic as it may seem, the common ground for all is that we are different. 

 

Exclusion Cuts Ties with Your Team 

If every person is different, why does it matter to make everyone feel they belong? Inclusion instills a sense of security in employees. When they know they are heard and valued, they will do everything to ensure their workplace stays intact and high functioning. 

 

Conversely, when you strip the sense of belonging within employees, you remove a vital part within them. This will then be replaced with a sense of identity threat to those who feel excluded. Once employees feel they are less valued, emotional resignation can come forth, thus lowering the quality of their work and eventually leading to actual resignation. 

 

How To Embrace Individuality in the Workplace 

How can your employees think you are on the same boat toward growth when they have different needs and viewpoints? With Global Diversity Awareness Month at hand, here are some ways to start and continue embracing individuality. 

 

1. Be the leader they need. 

It begins in the onboarding process. You will know former work setups when you keep a keen eye on their diverse backgrounds. Knowing places that they did not thrive in, you can place them in other departments or assign tasks they will work best with. 

 

Keep employee engagement high with activities that can help show their authentic selves. This will cascade into a practice that everyone else will follow as it relieves them of the tension of putting on a façade and hiding the nuances that make them unique. 

 

2. Reevaluate current work norms. 

Current work norms may become a nuisance to today’s statements of self-expression. Here are some of the workplace decorum and how you can conform to them in an inclusive yet professional manner. 

 

  • Dress code. In workplaces without uniforms, you can allow your employees to wear anything they feel comfortable in as long as their clothes do not distract other employees from their work. 
  • Language. Certain gender profiles do not conform to established pronouns or statements. Showing respect to their orientations with words entails your learning of inclusive language.   
  • Meetings. Group discussions may tax introverted employees or employees with social anxiety disorders. So, try and explore appropriate handling methods for these employees aside from group huddles. 

 

3. Be an example of keeping a diverse workforce. 

With today’s technology, you can have employees from different continents and still expect quality work on time. Diversity in the workplace can be more evident today, especially with remote work setups. A workforce having variations of individuals from different locations, races, and other factors can make your organization feel more inclusive. 

 

As emphasized earlier, diversity begins with individuality because the former is the amalgam of every person’s uniqueness. Therefore, with the distinct qualities they currently have, not only do you highlight diversity but you also emphasize every person’s contribution to your institution. 

 

4. Remove unnecessary barriers to diversity. 

When recruiting and retaining employees, there is no good gain in choosing either one race more than the other or a gender that seemingly looks stronger than the other. Inclusion affects your organization’s image and outputs as perceived by candidates. 

 

In a 2017 study by PricewaterhouseCoopers, millennials said that they consider an organization’s diversity and inclusion policies before signing job offers. This proves that the practice of making employees (and candidates) feel they belong is a vital part of recruiting and retaining the workforce. 

 

5. Draw a line between individuality and professionalism. 

Even with the goal of celebrating individuality, one of your roles is to keep every employee’s differences in check so that professionalism is maintained within the workspace. Yes, we want to spotlight their specific traits, but it’s best not to inflate them to the point that formal transactions feel too homey and informal. 

 

The cultural diversity in your workplace will positively impact your organization only when you allow the good things in them to grow and prune the less exemplary parts. 

 

6. Communicate. 

At the core of every good relationship is good communication. Let employees say their concerns, and then ask them how you can intervene to make work easier and more effective. When you ask for their consensus, you provide equal opportunities for employees to be noticed. 

 

However, you are still their leader, which means you still have authority over their actions. Criticize areas they lack in, but ensure you help employees with those areas. Every person’s best self is their authentic self. True growth must happen for them to become fully realized employees, but creating a mask and hiding what makes them distinct will not help them reach their full potential. 

 

Lead Diverse People into their Best Versions 

Bridging a connection among distinct individuals may seem daunting, but what makes it exciting is your role in initiating these practices that can help them reveal their true selves. 

 

When you affirm to your employees that their distinct person is an asset to your organization, you lower their chances of being aloof and alone. While candidates’ and employees’ uniqueness can impact culture and workplace diversity, you can lead such differences into a place where everyone will benefit as a part of a community. 

 

PRACTICE AND PROMOTE DIVERSITY WITH ACS PROFESSIONAL STAFFING. 

Every candidate you come across may hail from a different environment, but with ACS Professional Staffing, you can ensure that they are all top-tier and competent by today’s standards. 

 

At ACS Professional Staffing, we will take the time and apply steps to guarantee job fit. It’s our goal that the best organizations find the best people. With our help, your growing number of employees who value individuality and inclusion may just find another member!   

Celebrate Global Diversity Awareness Month with new and exciting employees. Contact us now!