This article relates to the Diversity in the Workplace Competency, commonly evaluated
in employee satisfaction surveys. This competency explores whether your organization provides understanding and supports interaction among diverse population groups while respecting individuals' personal values and ideas. Research shows that by fostering a climate where equity and mutual respect are intrinsic, an organization can create a success-oriented, cooperative and caring work environment that draws intellectual strength and produces innovative solutions from the synergy of its people.
All businesses can benefit from a diverse body of talent bringing fresh ideas, perspectives, and views to the workplace. However, a diverse workforce means that the managers within your organization must be capable of capitalizing on the mixture of genders, cultural backgrounds, ages, and lifestyles present in your staff to respond to business opportunities more rapidly and creatively.
This short story, Diversity----and Success, in the Workplace, is part of AlphaMeasure's Compilation, Tales from the Corporate Frontlines. It illustrates how one manager recognized and used a diverse team to achieve the best possible work product for the company, and win new business as well.
It was a project unlike any our small ad agency had ever undertaken. A new client, selling a completely different product than we usually worked with. And our team had been awarded the opportunity to develop the perfect campaign and win the continued business of this new client. We all looked at our project manager, who was with us now for six whole months, like he had lost his mind. Why not team A? They had twice the experience and were always the group chosen to woo new clients with their work. Surely they were a safer choice. Why risk the client on us?
Our project manager patiently explained that out team had the required diversity for this project. If ever a project demanded workforce diversity---this was it. We looked around at each other, sure enough, we referred to ourselves as the "odds and ends" we were all so different. Our writers and designers represented a mixture of newbie talent, on fire with ambition, more mature people on their second careers, and new hires who earned their stripes far away, in big city agencies. We worked okay together, but our projects so far were small cast offs from the senior teams.
Yes, the project manager continued, this campaign required a diversity that the more entrenched teams lacked. More of our members represented the target demographic, and the deadline demanded quick turnaround. That was one of the reasons our company had landed the project. Times were tight and potential long-term clients were nothing to sneeze at. He was confident that if we pulled together, we'd achieve the best possible outcome for everyone--- a brilliant campaign that would lure the new client onto our roster forever.
Still thinking that he was crazy, we began our work. The entire process was amazing. Our brainstorming sessions produced several great concepts that we developed eagerly. The newbies provided smart, stylish slogans, while the latecomers worked overtime to combine them with vibrant design. Our client loved it. So much so that our firm was awarded three more projects with the expectation that our team would do the required work.
Yes, our project manager was crazy. Crazy enough to go against the usual procedure and capitalize on the workforce diversity of our team to the benefit of the company. We succeeded ---with his guidance, of course.