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According to Bell (2012), diversity is the difference among different people based on race, mental ability, sex or ethnicity. Although efforts are being made to promote diversity and discourage discrimination, diversity in different spheres of life is still a challenge. There are many cases of people who have been sidelined at the workplace or other social places all because of race or ethnic background. It is thus important for everyone to understand the benefits of diversity (Bell, 2012).
Over the years, I have learnt the importance of diversity by living and working alongside people of varying backgrounds. We all have different strengths and as such, embracing diversity presents us with an opportunity to learn from others and become better individuals. Despite having had a chance to socialize with various groups of people, I recently realized that I have so much to learn as far as dealing with diversity at the work place is concerned.
I encountered a serious challenge when I got an opportunity to work in a company that was dominated by White employees. I thought that my experience would help but this was never to be the case. Time and again, I got caught up in very unhealthy arguments with my White colleagues that almost made me quit work. After three months in employment, I started feeling rejected and secluded from some of my colleagues, especially those from the White community. This made me wonder whether I made the right decision to accept this particular job offer. During my fourth month at the company, I was asked by the head of my department to head a team that was to work on a newly identified project.
The team was comprised of ten members and seven were from the White background. Whereas the head of department believed that I was the best person to lead the team, there was so much resistance from my White colleagues. During the first week, various attempts to get work started seemed to bear no fruit. The other non-White members noticed my predicament and opted to offer their support so we could get started.
At the start of the second week, the department head asked me to give him an update and he was surprised by the report I gave. I was certainly not pleased with the reaction of my White colleagues and I made this very clear to the head of department during our conversation. It was my greatest desire to see a change in the way employees were treated in the company and I was determined to go all the way. After our discussion, the head of department asked me to accompany him to the Chief Executive Officer for a further discussion. After listening carefully, the CEO decided to hire a team of experts to train all employees on the importance of diversity. It was an intensive training that lasted one week and everyone, including the CEO, took part.
I was delighted to see how things changed after the training and I worked for the company for another two years before I left. A number of my White colleagues became my friends and to this day, I am glad that I was part of the change.
Diversity is certainly important in the present world. Technological advancements have led to the creation of a global village and we all have to be ready to work and interact with people from a diverse background. As noted earlier, there are many benefits associated with diversity.
Bell, M. P. (2012). Diversity in Organizations, Second Edition. Mason, OH: South-Western. Web.