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The Advantage of Diversity in the Workplace

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Actually, I see the advantage of using a pocket knife with only one tool out at a time. And of not capitalizing words in the middle of sentences.

Diversity is a big thing where I work. Every year employees attend workshops designed to instill an appreciation for it (along with its buddy, inclusiveness). I’ve always thought of myself as being fully onboard with the whole D&I thing, but I saw a poster today on my way in today that made me wonder.

As you can see in the image to the right, the poster attempts to convince the viewer of the value of diversity by comparing a typical, multi-faceted pocketknife with one that only only has corkscrews. Now, I know the idea is to show that having various tools at your disposal is generally more useful than only having one, but the analogy breaks down quickly if you think about it.

What if, for example, my job was to remove corks? Wouldn’t I want the pocketknife full of corkscrews – particularly if the corkscrews tended to break or wear out?

More generally, the poster gives the impression that a each type of person has – no, better yet, is designed for – a certain type of use. Type A is intended for doing task A, type B for task B, etc. – and this hardly argues for diversity. Instead, it suggests hiring the types of people that match well with the job description tasks.

Now, that may seem like an obvious statement. (I mean, who wouldn’t want someone who fit the job description.) The whole idea of diversity, however, is to step outside those bounds, isn’t it?

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