Diversity has always been an integral part of workplace strategy however, the definition has evolved over time. What earlier meant an inclusion of race, gender, age and sexual orientation, now considers diverse experiences, skills, opinions, biases and being differently talented also under its umbrella. Let’s look at what diversity means today at modern workplaces.
A renowned leader in the CRE industry, Pallavi is currently the Head of Workplace Consulting, India at JLL. During her 18+ years of professional journey, she has played many leadership roles across geographies, including the US and India. She is also a celebrated published author of the book, The City Observed – Notes from an Unfolding India (Copal Publishers, 2015) and takes keen interest in Workplace Strategy, Design and D&B of workplaces for key clients.

Diversity is no longer a good to have agenda. It has become a crucial prerogative in everything we do. It is not just about diversity of male and female representation, it is about diversity of ethnicity, ideas, voices, cultures and solutions. More and more research is reaffirming that companies with more diverse representation have outperformed in profitability compared to less diverse cohorts.

What does Diversity mean in a Workplace
Diversity in a workplace is not merely about race, gender, age, sexual orientation but also about experiences, skills, opinions, biases and being differently talented. All are such crucial components of a successful team and their potentials and outcomes. Hence, there has to be an intentionality built around to make this happen and make it work. Our simple approach towards assumptions is based on a heavily unconscious biases which in return can have real world impact if left unchecked and not consciously processed to thwart it. Bias is simply a prejudice to form for or against perceptions around individuals, ethnicities and group of individuals or even age groups. Most recent questionable discussion around millennials was extremely short-sighted and there was serious effort around to box a generation. It was unfortunate.

Dynamic Times need Diverse Views
We have never lived through more dynamic times than our current period of upheaval and turbulence. There are several themes at play and some of them are inter-colliding with each other in a very short period of time and that makes the case of diversity even more prominent. Few problems are quite diverse and some are colossal in scale. We need interoperable and diverse ideas at an intersection of people, technology and experience to make something significant for our future of work and organizations and business models. Our industrial singular model no longer serves us and we need to let it go, and reimagine our work and businesses at an intersection of industrial, knowledge, and information ages in creative ways.

Diversity at the Core of Communities
Sir Ken Robinson had argued two decades ago on how human communities depend upon diversity of talent and not on a singular conception of ability. Human talent is tremendously diverse. Industrial model of work made us do things which we were not passionate about or good at. He professed that at the heart of it, the challenge is to reconfigure our sense of abilities and different intelligences. It essentially builds a case of diverse abilities. This will lead us to avoid the trap of linearity and conformity in everything we do. Simple example on this will be in Indian culture. Any creative pursuit of music or dance was considered a side vocation but it was always math and science that were preferred route to success. Benign approach at that time but it was so profoundly mistaken to suppress human faculties.

Diversity doesn’t need a business case in Workplaces anymore. Instead, businesses need diversity to survive and thrive.