The New Definition of Diversity
What comes to mind when you think of diversity? Generally it’s two things: race and gender. We constantly hear about organizations seeking “diversity” in their staff. But what good does that really do? To the public, it portrays your organization as an equal opportunity employer, which values all individuals, regardless of their race or sexual orientation. That’s great, but diverse appearances don’t necessarily give us diversity in business. When I entered the professional world, there was undoubtedly a lack of diversity. White males dominated the business world and continue to do so today, but things have changed a lot. While race issues certainly exist in the business world, most organizations are innocent, displaying a diverse staff of all races and genders. So how do you define diversity in modern business?
I define diversity as, “a wide array of life and career experiences, religious beliefs and sexual orientation, as well as intellectual curiosity, individual courage, and breadth of intellectual depth.” While it’s great to have public approval and a positive image among the local community, diversity in business should be defined by experiences, not image. Diversity in business is the ability to apply knowledge from other business functions and industries to the problem at hand. A successful Public Relations agency doesn’t consist of 20 dedicated PR professionals. It consists of copywriters, sales people, marketers, HR and anyone else who can bring valuable experience and knowledge to an unfamiliar business and industry.
Although issues regarding race and gender will probably never die, it’s time for us as professionals to see deeper than image when defining diversity in business.