Think about the people who push you to be creative, who challenge your thinking, and introduce you to new ideas- are they just like you? No, not usually. One of the best gifts of our work is to be able to partner with and serve a diverse group of people. We are constantly being challenged to improve, to try new methods and to lean into uncomfortable but important conversations. Growth often comes when we embrace what is unfamiliar to us, which is why we are always looking to further embrace diversity in our work projects, partners and team members. MECC encourages you to embrace diversity the next time you plan to expand your staff or type of work. Below are some of the many benefits of diversity in the workplace:

Fosters Respect Team members who are attuned to working with people from different backgrounds, skill sets, and thought processes are likely to recognize and respect the talent that each member brings to the group. When a team is diverse in different ways, members learn how to work together and support each other in a way that benefits the whole team, both in output and positive workplace culture. A workplace that values respect promotes a culture that is productive, tolerant and unafraid of approaching conflict.

Resolves Conflict When conflict arises, which of course it will, a team that recognizes and respects its differences is likely to find similarities such as goals for work production and quality. Recognizing similarities, in cases of conflict, makes the road to resolution much easier. Identifying common goals promote a “we’re in this together” mentality, which helps the team acknowledge conflict, discuss possible solutions and continue moving toward achieving the goal.

Drives Innovation A Harvard Business study identifies two types of diversity: inherent and acquired. Inherent is the diversity you are born into- place of birth, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc. Acquired diversity comes from experience- working in a different country or working with a specific cohort. Innovation comes from the melding of these two types of diversity. Team members and leaders who experience these two types of diversity drive innovation by knowing the importance of creating a space that allows and embraces all ideas and contributions.

Increases Creativity Creativity, in most simple terms is, “a mental process in which two or more bits of information come together in your mind to create a new and useful idea.” It’s no surprise that diversity in the workplace will produce creative outcomes. In a diverse team, team members might have experienced similar situations but have solved them differently. These experiences, when combined, create endless possibilities for solutions and ideas that are efficient, productive and unique to the team.

Avoid High Turnover Turnover rates are high at workplaces that fail to hear and support their team members. Workplaces that value diversity, put effort into fostering a culture that practices inclusivity. Showing respect and implementing programs that foster inclusivity and penalize discrimination increase happiness and decrease the turnover-rate in the workplace.

Working towards diversity is always something to strive for; our differences are what make us better both as individuals and as a team. At MECC, we are always looking for ways to foster inclusivity, respect, and celebrate our differences. What do you appreciate about diversity?