Why diversity of opinion is good for L&D

by L&D17 May 2016
Does your workplace encourage a plurality of views?

If so, you’re on the winning side.

Indeed, the vast majority of Australian employees want to be part of a workplace where diversity of thought is encouraged, according to Hays’ Staff Engagement: Ideas for action report.

The findings are based on a survey of 1,196 employers and employees, which found that 93% of employees want a ‘voice’ and to be able to share their opinions at work.

The same percentage also want to work in an inclusive culture where differences are valued.

The findings also showed that 87% of employers said making sure staff feel like they have a ‘voice’ and can share their opinions at work is ‘very important’ or ‘important’ in engaging their workforce. However, 45% admit that they need to work on this.

Eighty-four per cent said a feeling amongst staff of inclusion, where differences are valued, is ‘very important’ or ‘important’, while 38% said they need to address this issue.

Nick Deligiannis, Managing Director of Hays in Australia & New Zealand, said a workplace that respects and encourages different ways of thinking works more innovatively to bring new ideas to the table.

“Each individual possesses a range of qualities, traits and backgrounds that influence the way that they think,” said Deligiannis.

“While some people are creative and driven by opportunities to innovate, others are more analytical. There are people who thrive on spontaneity, and those who are natural planners.

“Recognising the value that each person offers can lead to greater creativity and improved business productivity. It also helps avoid ‘group think’, where a focus on group conformity and consensus can compromise thorough and well-considered decision making.

“So a culture that encourages diversity of thought should result in improved problem solving capability and a wider range of solutions.”

Deligiannis added that there were multiple benefits for employees.

“In a workplace that embraces diversity of thought, employees can be themselves, know that differences are valued, feel they can share different perspectives, are more willing to provide an honest opinion, and will contribute to new ways to solve problems," he said.

“This leads to new approaches and creates an environment where all employees can thrive and perform at their peak.”

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