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January 23, 2017 10 Things

10 Things I know about ... workplace diversity

Michelle Jones Johnson, chief diversity officer, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

10) Diversity is not a numbers game.

Successful organizations don’t focus on the percentages of different types of people they employ but seek individuals with distinctive skills who can drive organizational success.

9) Diversity drives economic growth.

Companies that embrace diversity open up a far greater pool of potential employees – each of whom is a potential superstar.

8) Diversity drives creativity.

Problems require all minds working towards solutions. Not seeking the skills of people of all backgrounds would be short sighted.

7) Diversity must be a strategic focus, championed by the highest level leaders and supported with resources.

6) Generations view diversity differently.

Gen X views diversity as a moral imperative rather than an economic one while Gen Y views diversity as a means to organizational outcomes, focusing on cognitive diversity.

5) Globalization allows firms to expand their talent landscape, but it also increases competition for top talent.

4) Organizations that don’t diversify will be less attractive to recruits and less competitive.

3) Organizations are no longer static, especially those in innovative technologies.

This goes hand-in-hand with diversity and inclusion; creative people are not limited by traditional stereotypes.

2) Student enrollment soars where diversity and inclusion reflected in the classroom and teaching climate.

1) Diversity fosters engagement that is critical to develop and retain key talent.

Talented people want to work where they’re valued and where their careers are fulfilling and intellectually engaging, and often that means being exposed to different people with different perspectives and different ways of working.

Michelle Jones-Johnson is vice president for talent development and chief diversity officer at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

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