Diversity in the Workplace

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Diversity is a crucial component of any environment. We should strive to surround ourselves with individuals who are different than us, who come from different backgrounds and cultures, so that we may learn more about the array of humanity’s differences.

When it comes to implementing diversity in the workplace, we can see how these important differences between us can play out into our personal and professional well-beings, benefiting all parties involved.

At Hope, there are many different ways that diversity is expressed and given the opportunity to thrive. For example, there are clubs and organizations on campus that allow students to celebrate different cultures such as the Black Student Union (BSO), Hope Asian Perspective Association (HAPA), Latino Student Organization (LSO), and the Theta Gamma Pi Sorority. These are all under the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, which has launched a campus wide program called G.R.O.W.

What is G.R.O.W.? According to the Center for Diversity and Inclusion‘s website, G.R.O.W. is a dynamic, campus-wide initiative that fosters diverse relationships and deepens cross-cultural competence to achieve an inclusive campus community, which allows us to fulfill our multicultural/global and Christian mission at Hope College. The acronym G.R.O.W. stands for: “Growing Relationships through diverse Opportunities to strengthen involvement in an ever-changing World.” Hope is always trying to grow when it comes to diversity on campus, and the G.R.O.W. program as well as the Center for Diversity and Inclusion do an amazing job of bettering this area of campus.

Audrey Park, a senior this year and the vice president of the Hope Asian Perspective Association, commented on the importance of being exposed to diverse backgrounds:

The world is changing everyday and the United States especially has come to have such a large mix of backgrounds in this country. For students to not be exposed to real diversity can cause them to live the rest of their lives in confusion about how to treat those with different backgrounds.

She also divulged her view of an ideal diverse workplace and why having a diverse workplace is important:

A diverse workplace is extremely important for me because being a part of the Korean American population in America, if those in the workforce are just led and hired by those of the majority then those with different cultural background will not be taken into account when making decisions.  For example in the education system, if every school had no diversity than students would not be truly understood with different backgrounds and would feel as though they are not being understood.  If the workplace is not diverse then I feel as though fair employment will not be executed because those who are hired are only hired because it feels more comfortable to hire someone you have seen before versus someone you are different from.  Humans work the best when they are able to communicate and understand each other well and that only comes from being able to learn about each other and accept each other.

How do students know which companies are best when it comes to diversity? Here are the 50 best places to work when it comes to diversity, according to greatplacetowork.com. Among these companies are: Delta Air Lines, Build-A-Bear Workshop, and QuickenLoans. According to the website, “rankings take into account how favorably women, minorities and LGBTQ employees experience their workplace relative to their male, Caucasian and heterosexual colleagues’ experiences; as well as the degree of representation women and minorities enjoy within the workforce as a whole, management and executive roles.” Local companies that take diversity into account are Herman Miller and Kellogg.

Diversity in the workplace offers many benefits as well as challenges. To name a few, some benefits according to multiculturaladvantage.com are:

  • Increased Adaptability
  • Broader Service Ranges
  • A Variety of Viewpoints
  • More Effective Execution

Challenges according to the same website are:

  • Communication
  • Resistance to Change
  • Implementation of Diversity in the Workplace Policies
  • Successful Management of Diversity in the Workplace

When looking for a place of employment, make sure to take diversity and these benefits and challenges into account. How can students do this? There are many ways, but a great place to start is at the Diversity in the Workplace panel discussion on Thursday, Jan. 19, from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Maas Center. The panel is sure to give a great introduction as to why diversity in the workplace is so important.

Hope to see you there!