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As you know, very few countries can match South Africa when it comes to diversity. And there are so many levels of diversity. According to human psychology, there are three distinguishable dimensions of diversity, which can be anything from the primary level “age” to a tertiary level “smoking or non-smoking.” No two people are alike and yet we are all the same. We all need to provide for ourselves and our families. We all need to belong. And we all deserve to be treated with dignity.

The Need for Diversity in the Workplace

According to the case study of Hewlett-Packard, compiled by Yousuf Kamal, having a diverse workforce “affects the productivity and efficiency of the workforce in general.” And the more diverse your workforce is, the more your employees can deliver their own unique perspective into problem solving, dealing with clients and performing day-to-day tasks.

The Responsibility of Companies

According to Dr. Mathur-Helm of the University Of Stellenbosch Business School, companies should implement and strictly enforce a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to interpersonal problems arising from diversity. As a human resource professional, you might already be aware that all employees must be made to understand that all of their colleagues should be treated with respect and dignity, despite their apparent differences. Team-building events and office parties could potentially foster interpersonal relationships.

And when it comes to managing interpersonal conflicts, it should go without saying that any and all complaints need to be treated seriously and equally.

Diversity is to be celebrated but in a sensitive manner. Make sure that the positives of diversity are highlighted and the potential negatives diminished. If you need more information on this matter, please contact us by using the form found under “Contact Us.” Or leave a comment in the section below.

I-Fundi Article by Susan Long