Never before in the history of mankind has the world been more mobile. People are constantly moving, in search of better opportunities. International relocations, for improved employment opportunities are also more common. As a result, the workplace is becoming more diverse every day; and, it’s important to see these differences as an asset, not a liability. Thus, mentoring is the answer to diversity initiatives in your organization.
Mentoring Enhances Workplace Diversity
When asked to consider the topic of workplace diversity, most people first think of race and religious beliefs. But, it’s much more than the differences in skin color or an individual’s views regarding a higher power. People are different in so many ways, including:
* Personal Interests
* Learning Styles
* Communication Skills
* Personal Values
Teaching people to accept one another, and utilize workplace diversity is what diversity initiatives are all about; and mentoring is the answer to creating a solid workforce.
Consider the following scenario:
Jane has been working for company X for 10 years. Because of her experience, she is chosen to mentor a new employee. Having 3 children of her own, she is the motherly sort, but she also knows how to get the job done. She attends church regularly and frequently volunteers for community events. Jane’s coworkers describe her as very loyal and straight-laced.
Jane has been assigned to mentor Susan who appears different in every conceivable way. She is more of a loner, with a slight chip on her shoulder. She is not very trusting of people, because no one in her life has earned that privilege. She has multi-colored hair, likes heavy metal music, and has never held a job for more than a year.
Amazingly, as Jane mentors Susan, subtle changes begin to take place. Over time, Susan learns that some people are worthy or trust and respect. Jane always seems to be there, when she needs something or has a question. On the other hand, Jane learns that Susan is a hard worker, a fast learner, and eager to find a place to belong. A sense of camaraderie and friendship has developed between two people that normal would have avoided one another in the past.
Of course, Jane and Susan are totally fictitious. But, the example is meant to describe how people so different can benefit from mentoring and managing diversity in the workplace.
The Upside to Managing Diversity in the Workplace
Managing diversity in the workplace benefits both the employees and the management. Without acceptance of differences, within the office, it’s almost impossible to get things done and grow a business. Everyone is only concerned about his/her position, with little thought to how each job contributes to the success of any organization.
However, when a mentoring program is instituted, it brings about many positive changes:
* Employees feel valued
* Employees learn from one another
* Strengths are discovered and better utilized
* Employees bond and work together for a common goal
* Management saves on the cost of training new employees
* Management prepares employees for advancement
* The organization is more productive and profitable
* Employee turnaround is slowed
In short, mentoring creates a more positive environment in the workplace. Employees learn from one another and may discover new ways to approach old problems. Management gains a more loyal and cohesive group of workers, while saving money on the cost of education and training. Workplace diversity becomes an asset to the productivity and growth of an organization.
Copyright, Cecile Peterkin. All Rights Reserved.
Cecile Peterkin, Certified Career Coach, Corporate Mentor and Speaker, helps businesses leverage the mind-share of retiring Baby Boomers and senior managers, and transfer it to the next generation of leaders with her ProMentoring program. For more information visit http://www.ProMentoringInc.com