Have a rant -Diverse meanings

Is your organisation doing its bit to encourage diversity? And – more controversially – do you care? I can’t say I do.

Type ‘diversity’ into Personneltoday.com, and you’ll be swamped by 7,500-plus articles. But what does it actually mean? It seems even the ‘diversity practitioners’ themselves aren’t sure. But it won’t stop them trying to form a professional association. Not surprisingly, Trevor Phillips – who is to head up the soon-to-be-launched Commission for Equality and Human Rightsgives it his support (Personnel Today, 21 August).

I doubt many people mourn the demise of the mono-cultural workplace, but there seems to be an unquestioning orthodoxy that a ‘diverse’ workforce is automatically a good thing.

In my experience, the best work environments are those where the majority of people get along – and by and large, this means employing people of a similar outlook. A shy, retiring type is unlikely to flourish in an office where boisterous banter is the norm. So if you are seeking staff for such an environment, should you employ wallflowers simply for the sake of diversity? Obviously not.

So what is this ‘diversity’ for which we must now strive? If it is equality of opportunity in the workplace, regardless of age, gender, race, religion, disability or sexuality, we already have shelves full of legislation in place to help us strike the right balance.

Let us resist the siren call of the diversity brigade. Our jobs are hard enough as it is without adding another spurious specialism.

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