25 Examples of Diversity in the Workplace

Inspirational Leadership Skills - Unconventional Leadership Development

We literally live and breathe in a diverse world but we sometimes forget to take a moment and reflect on how many opportunities and possibilities it offers us.  Perhaps you’ve met leaders who create cliques or design hierarchical work environments where there is a privileged group.  The remarkable thing is that it requires conscious thought and action to create this type of workplace. Leaders have to deliberately select the qualities they prefer and put the systems in place to make it happen.  They could just as easily build workplaces based on an entirely different set of characteristics.

Here are twenty examples of diversity in the workplace, each one can be used as a way to bring people together.

  1. Age.
  2. Gender.
  3. Race and ethnicity.
  4. Education.
  5. Physical appearance.
  6. Physical ability.
  7. Culture.
  8. Problem-solving ability.
  9. Critical thinking ability.
  10. Team building ability.
  11. Communication ability.
  12. Income.
  13. Music enjoyed.
  14. Type of books read.
  15. TV shows enjoyed.
  16. Experiences when being raised.
  17. Language.
  18. Capability for empathy.
  19. Abiltity to be kind.
  20. Ability to motivate people.
  21. Ability to work with others.
  22. Job description.
  23. Listening ability.
  24. Conflict resolution ability.
  25. Level of self-awareness.

People are only as different as we make them out to be.  We choose which characteristics we want to highlight, mostly based on what we’re comfortable with.  If we wanted to, we could begin celebrating every quality our employees possess and increase our access to their amazing talents and abilities immediately.  Ideally, we use people’s unique characteristics to make our workplace stronger rather than creating divisions.  What types of diversity do you celebrate in your workplace?



34 thoughts on “25 Examples of Diversity in the Workplace

  1. #18 & #19 (empathy and kindness) — I would never have thought of these characteristics as examples of diversity; but since they are on this list, I thought about their inclusion and I realized that these are key qualities to making a diverse workplace “work”. Without empathy or kindness, how would I ever be able to relate to someone who is so obviously unlike me. Those two characteristics give people the ability to bridge differences.

  2. i agree with all 25 of these listed, i wish that diversity did not exist in our society today, but unfortuneately it does, what has the world come to

  3. To ensure the fruit of diversity in the workplace, affirmative action program should be applied which is sometimes difficult to perform. Is it?

    1. Thank you for your comment and question Sharmin. I focus on helping people practice postive behaviors so that they don’t have to refer to their HR policies or applicable laws whenever a diversity issue arises. For example: If you work with the organization’s leaders and employees and help them learn and practice behaviors that promote diversity, you’re less likely to constantly rely on the legal or procedural framework. It gives the people involved another tool to create a welcoming work environment. Take care, Guy.

  4. I agree with all 25 types of diversity listed in the article. But I was wondering if we can use the same kind of theoretical approaches of management to resolve issues arsing from such diversities at our workplace? Thanks

    1. Great question Archie. As you’ve indicated, the examples listed can be used to deal with many workplace issues. A skilled, self-aware manager will understand how to use each one to resolve the challenges that arise. Take care, Guy.

  5. Thanks for your good work. The twenty five examples listed, how can they improve or deter organizational performance?

    1. Thank you for your question Malick. Any of the examples in this article may be viewed positively or negatively. For example: If people in your company view age as a negative they will create a work environment where only certain employees are hired or certain ages are favored; if age is viewed as positive or a non-issue then people of all ages are accepted and welcomed. Each leader and, by extension, the organization decides whether people of all types are accepted or whether impediments are put in place. Perhaps a good starting place to evaluate how your organization is doing is to go through each item on the list and ask if it creates any kinds of challenges in your workplace. That process will suggest areas that need attention and give you an idea of what kind of training or education you might offer. You’ll also find that it helps to start at the top by making sure leadership accepts and values people of all kinds. Take care, Guy.

  6. this is very true, my questions is that, what can be done to enhance sustainability and environmental responsibility in the workplace?? it would be helpful for an answer to my question please

    1. Thank you for your question Sarai. I’ve found it helpful to look at any of the items on the list and think in terms of how I can make it part of the company culture. For example: If I want to help people practice team building so they can connect on a deeper level and value each other’s points of view, I institute an ongoing program that teaches people how to build effective teams and work well with each other. The idea is for the organization to make a long-term commitment to help people move past differences and begin focusing on the things they have in common. It’s the process of creating a workplace where the items on the list bring people together rather than divide them. Take care, Guy.

    1. Thank you for your question MD. You might find it helpful to think of the items listed as a potential challenge depending on how you deal with them in your workplace. The difficulty that many leaders run into is that they view these items as negatives instead of opportunities to improve the functioning of the organization. In order to address any challenge that arises, it’s often beneficial to talk about the issue openly and practice some collaborative problem-solving to develop a resolution that works for everyone. Take care, Guy.

    1. Thanks for your thoughtful question Becca. I’ve found it helpful to think of diversity as an opportunity to highlight and put into use the strengths people bring to the table. Each person in any setting or environment will have certain interests and things they love to do or talk about. The idea is to take each person’s area of expertise and allow them to share it with the rest of the group rather than trying to fit everyone into the same mold. Diversity then becomes a mindset where we celebrate each individual’s unique talents regardless of their place in the organization. Cheers, Guy.

    1. Hi Asif. Thanks for your question. I’ve found it helpful to think of diversity as the ability of an organization to respect and value the various talents, behaviors, thoughts, beliefs, worldviews, and ideas that their employees bring to the table. When an organization values diversity, they are likely to do things like ask their employees for input and use their varied viewpoints and ideas to solve workplace challenges and build a more cohesive organization. Take care, Guy.

        1. Thanks for the question Saafqat. I tend to think of diversity as a way to describe the various life experiences, thoughts, beliefs, ideas, feelings, and behaviors people bring to the table. Diversity can describe any situation where there are a variety of perspectives. Take care, Guy.

  7. Wow, very interesting comments over the years. I find quite interesting the questions surrounding diversity. I do agree that diversity could really grow an organization if it is allowed to do so, but it takes mind-opening to recognize that diversity does exist, unless you work on a completely homogeneous team. So, open your eyes and smell the roses; they most-likely smell different from you…. diversity; Charles in the next room grew up in Alaska, I’m sure there are innate diversities.
    Again, I do like the idea of making diversity positive. In small ways, some people do allow diversities to be positive but, more often than not, we look for cliques that support our thoughts and ideas, our natural desires to fit in, feel comfortable. Learning to move away from our comfort zones would be a very good starting lesson, then people might be more accepting of diversities.

    1. Thanks for your thoughtful comments, MED. I like the idea of people stepping outside their comfort zones and viewing diversity as something positive rather than something to rail against. Cheers, Guy.

  8. Hello. I enjoyed the article and the comments. The topic relates strongly to my studies, which are about educational strategies for reducing intolerance. I loved that you used the work “celebrate” in your closing, as I feel that a key goal (for humanity, and therefore also in the workplace) is that we learn to both celebrate and leverage radical diversity. Celebration speaks to the attitude, while leveraging speaks to skills and practical application.

    Given such a goal, I’m currently working on two enabling and inter-related attitudinal objectives: maximizing empathy for the “other” and minimizing exclusivist ways of thinking. As an educational strategy, I’m working on: Personally, critically and creatively engaging with radically diverse worldviews. The idea is that such experiences make it easier to understand and relate to the other (supporting an increase in empathy) while making it harder to conclude that one’s own approach (or belief) is necessarily and uniquely correct in comparison with others (supporting a decrease in exclusivism).

    Happy new year, and best of luck in your work, Guy; I’ll be sure to check back, now that I have stumbled upon you!

    1. Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Mars. I love the idea of working with people to increase empathy and reduce exclusivism. I’m glad you’re out there thinking of ways to bring people together. Cheers, Guy.

  9. This has really helped my with my nursing assignment about working with diverse people, it’s given me everything that I need to know about all the different types of diversity in the workplace and everywhere else.
    Thanks so much!

  10. I’ve been thinking about the opposite concept. When do you work with people that are NOT diverse? Are we all the same — I mean really? Even identical twins can be quite different.

    It seems like there can only be degrees of diversity — never reaching either end of the spectrum.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Dave. I like the idea that we really are all diverse, that no two people are the same. I’ve found it’s the things we view as scary or negative about others that transform differences into something that gets in the way of celebrating everyone. Cheers, Guy.

  11. Diversity adds so much “flavor” to the team and the organization. It would be boring and monotonous if everybody had the same skill level, values etc.

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