The issue of diversity in the workplace has been an ongoing one for many years. In South Africa, it means to include people of different backgrounds and beliefs in the workplace. However, it is clear that much work still needs to be done in terms of changing the mindset around this topic. According to Sneha Shah (Thomson Reuters),[1] locally we are considering diversity in a very narrow context. In reality, it is a much broader topic. In essence, it means that your workplace should be reflective of the world out there.

 

Furthermore, according to Sneha Shah, many people in senior management positions, whatever their gender race or other persuasion, tend to feel that they have undergone hardships on their journey. As a result, they expect that others, – in order to achieve, must undergo the same experiences. This is essentially with a blockage in viewing this for the broad topic it really is – lies. What is more; statistically senior managers tend to groom or promote individuals that they view as being like them.

 

Diversification on top management level is absolutely crucial for the success and sustainability of a business today. However, diversity is not enough. It is the recognition of the individual, and the contributions to the organisation, which have shown to serve better in the long-term. At the end of the day, many people do feel that they learn the most from people that are actually not like them.

 

Recognition of the individual is directly, in my view, connected to a sustainable practice in diversification of an organisation. If this is not nurtured correctly, it will – result in the diversification of the top tier level which in turn could mentor and groom the next generation. An invaluable part to any effective business continuity strategy.

 

In my view, this is a value that should be installed throughout organisations and implemented in all facets of business. Not only is this how you conduct a proudly South African business in my view but it also ensures long-term sustainability, both from a perspective of retaining key talent, as well as ensuring continuity. Practically, this means that recruitment and human resources policies should accommodate for this as much as corporate governance and board policies should.

[1] Rodney Weidemann: Directorship Magazine December 2017: 14-16