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By Michelle Vessel
In a series of recent studies conducted at prestigious research institutions ranging from Rutgers University to MIT's Sloan School of Management, the tangible outcomes of diverse workplaces have been subjected to rigorous analysis. On almost every measure, workplace teams that are comprised of staff members from a variety of different racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds function more effectively than work groups that are homogenous, or comprised mostly of staff members with similar backgrounds.
According to Scott E. Page, author of The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies, some of the most striking divergences can be seen in the areas of problem-solving, conflict resolution, and creativity. In these three crucial skill sets, diverse groups have been shown consistently to outperform their homogenous counterparts.
Although researchers are still working to better understand the why and how of these results, most agree with the preliminary theory that diverse groups perform better because they bring a wide variety of perspectives, experiences, and attitudes to the table. When combined, the diverse staff generates a unique team dynamic that is more wide-ranging in its scope, breadth, and depth, and thus better equipped to tackle complex problems and challenges.
A diverse staff generates a unique team dynamic that is more wide-ranging in its scope, breadth, and depth, and thus better equipped to tackle complex problems and challenges.
“Along with diversity in your staff comes diversity of ideas, techniques and personalities.”
Even as researchers continue to study the effects of diversity in work groups, managers and other practitioners have been devising new ways to help organizations tap into the performance-boosting strengths of their diverse work groups. Here are some basic strategies to help you get started.
Expect conflict - and plan how to overcome it. Workplace diversity research tells us that great new ideas are often born out of the clash of different perspectives. On a surface level, this collision of different worldviews and attitudes can often result in conflicts between employees. It's best to take a proactive approach to address the unique challenge of conflict in a diverse workplace. For example, it may be beneficial to train your staff in the basics of effective cross-cultural communication. Also, agree on an organization-wide game plan for resolving workplace conflicts in a civil, compassionate manner.
Along with diversity in your staff comes diversity of ideas, techniques and personalities. With the right amount of effort, you department, practice or institution will benefit from this diversity in many ways.
Looking to recruit a new rheumatologists and rheumatology health professional? Target your recruitment efforts with ACR CareerConnection. The ACR CareerConnection is ACR’s online job board. The ACR's CareerConnection is designed to meet the needs of both job seekers and employers. CareerConnection is free to job seekers searching for opportunities in the field of rheumatology. Employers can target their recruitment efforts with a cost-effective and easy-to-use system. Benefits include access to a nationwide market of qualified rheumatology candidates, a résumé alert feature that automatically delivers email notices when potential candidates have posted a résumé – making it easier to find qualified candidates, and a job alert feature that instantly notifies candidates of your newly posted employment opportunities.
This article is provided for informational purposes only. The ACR is not responsible for any career decisions made by those consulting this article.
© 2015 American College of Rheumatology