What Are Diversity Skills? (Definition And Examples)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published 3 July 2022
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Diversity is the practice of including people with different ideologies, values, cultures and backgrounds. Diversity is increasingly important as a core value and as a daily commitment for companies to prioritise. Being familiar with the idea of diversity and knowing how to improve this skill can help improve your employability. In this article, we define diversity skills, provide some examples, discuss how to improve your skills and offer tips for highlighting them during a job search.
What Are Diversity Skills?
Diversity skills are traits or competencies that help in promoting inclusivity in a workplace. These traits empower professionals to develop tolerance and understanding towards a wide variety of people's needs, formative influences and backgrounds. Developing an aptitude to better understand inclusion as a concept and taking measures to support it as a practice in the workplace involves employing certain skills that promote diversity. Diversity training can include specific lectures or workshops that help professionals explore workplace diversity. Passive education can also be beneficial in reminding professionals of the need for diverse practices. Diversity may relate to:
Physical abilities and disabilities
Religious or spiritual beliefs
It is critical to focus on and improve skills for diversity, for professional development and growth. While applying for jobs, you may consider examining a company's mission and vision to determine the extent to which it values and promotes diversity. Diversity training is a common practice in most workplaces, and it typically aims to enhance a professional's capacity to navigate several common situations that require a heightened understanding of the concept of diversity.
Examples Of Diversity Skills
These are some skills that help promote diversity and inclusion in a workplace:
A sense of belonging and cultural awareness
Cultural awareness enables individuals to appreciate, value and treat others fairly by developing an identity. It creates a foundation upon which individuals can promote diversity and inclusivity in a workplace. It is important to nurture a feeling of belonging to help each professional establish a connection with their team and a sense of fulfilment in relation to their professional role. Promoting cultural awareness and a sense of belonging can help professionals:
Feel comfortable while communicating with colleagues
Believe that they can make important contributions
Recognise their unique abilities
Experience respect and trust
Ability to confront bias
Every person has a unique cultural frame of reference through which they view the world and make judgements. A cultural lens may evolve from an individual's personal experiences and learnings. As a professional, it is important to acknowledge that your worldview is not objective and that it is subject to biases. Biases have the potential to make individuals rely on unfounded assumptions to guide their actions.
You may become more intentionally inclusive after acknowledging and confronting your own biases. Empathy is important for identifying and overcoming biases. You can try to evaluate how others perceive interactions and workplace situations, and use this consideration to guide your judgments while interacting with them.
Ability to mitigate microaggressions
Microaggressions are insensitivities and indignities that one may direct towards a person's or group's identity, regardless of whether they are intentional. Verbal or non-verbal hostility may signify prejudice towards a person's race, sexuality, ability, religion, gender, socioeconomic position, age or any intersections of these characteristics. Microaggressions can sometimes be very subtle and may only reveal in retrospect.
These interactions can have a negative effect on a receiver and can make them feel uncomfortable in a professional setting. It is beneficial to identify such interactions and explain why they are detrimental to the morale of a workforce, especially if you are working in a managerial role. Microaggressions may present in a variety of forms, including:
Verbal: A verbal microaggression is a potentially harmful or stigmatising statement or inquiry directed towards a person.
Behavioural: Behaving in a way that is discriminatory or otherwise harmful to an individual or a group constitutes a behavioural microaggression. For example, if a waiter or bartender overlooks a tourist who speaks a different language in favour of a regular customer they share a mother-tongue with, the tourist may experience discrimination.
Environmental: When a subtle prejudice propagates inside a society, community or shared space, it can constitute an environmental microaggression. For example, when a college campus solely has buildings named after individuals belonging to a particular caste, it creates the potential to alienate members of the student community who do not share that caste background.
Related: An In-Depth Guide To Professionalism
Ability to combat stereotypes
Stereotypes often arise from discriminatory practices and prejudiced thought processes. People typically stereotype each other under the influence of perceptions and collective experiences. Stereotyping may relate to a range of aspects, such as gender, age, religion and race. Diversity training can help professionals value others more by identifying and combating stereotypes. Business enterprises can create collaborative opportunities that enable professionals from different departments and backgrounds to develop sensitivity towards the characteristics of individuals who are different from them.
Multicultural and multi-ethnic understanding
Multicultural understanding can assist you in developing more complicated thinking abilities and imaginative problem-solving capabilities. Individuals who have assimilated more than one culture are usually adaptable and sensitive to differences. Being aware of the characteristics of diverse cultures and ethnicities can also enable professionals to excel in international work settings.
Related: Types Of Barriers In Communication
How To Improve Diversity Skills
Follow these steps to improve your skills for diversity:
Be open to new information. Putting yourself in a workplace that is multicultural often requires you to acquire new information about your colleagues and their formative influences, educational backgrounds, cultural heritage, linguistic preferences and religious beliefs.
Try to develop a nuanced understanding of people. Stereotypes can often present a simplistic view of gender, culture, religious faction or nationality. Being aware of and consistently updating your judgements about people and their backgrounds can help you build a nuanced perspective on their lives.
Be aware of your comfort zone. Many people stay within their comfort zones and minimise interactions with people outside a familiar group at the workplace. It is optimal to be aware of this tendency and overcome it, to become comfortable in a diverse work environment.
Advantages Of Incorporating Diversity Skills In The Workplace
There are significant advantages to incorporating diversity in the workplace. It can create:
A stronger workforce
Diversity may aid in attracting and retaining qualified employees. Employees from all backgrounds can feel more appreciated and valued in work settings that appreciate and promote diversity. When employees feel that their presence in a workforce is meaningful, they may be less inclined to switch jobs.
Increased creativity and innovation
The ability to attract highly talented people from a range of backgrounds involves promoting and nurturing diversity within a workforce. Diversity potentially contributes to greater innovation and creativity in the workplace. Interacting with professionals with different formative influences and competencies can make employees open to accepting fresh ideas and new processes.
Improved interpersonal connections
Diversity aims to create an atmosphere in which everyone experiences acceptance and appreciation. Employees may appreciate one another more if they recognise and celebrate the unique characteristics of others. This can aid in developing healthier interpersonal connections and can reduce work-related stress for employees.
Related: What Is Interpersonal Communication?
Better customer service
Diversity aids in the development of a culturally sensitive workforce. This quality enables individuals to comprehend the nuances of diversity in contexts like language, culture and experience. This understanding is important for delivering high-quality customer service.
Ways To Highlight Diversity Skills
Follow these pointers to highlight your skills for diversity:
On a resume
Before you apply for a job, look through the job description to identify keywords pertaining to diversity that the employer mentions. If any of these qualities apply to you, you may consider adding them to the 'Skills' section of your resume. You can also mention multi-disciplinary work projects or international exchanges you have participated in as a part of your work.
During an interview
An interviewer may enquire about your capability to work in multicultural and multidisciplinary settings. This is especially important for companies whose operations span international geographic borders. You can indicate that you are capable of executing these interactions and share an anecdotal reference of a time when you thrived in a diverse work setting.
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