The world is making great strides towards embracing diversity, but people still need to put in an effort to move beyond their biases and make more progress. Having support makes that even easier, since an environment that embraces diversity makes individuals more likely to do the same. Providing that support can be a challenge, but there are a few techniques that can reliably make it easier for other people to accept and embrace a diverse environment.
Many people are reluctant to accept change until they see practical benefits. Fortunately, recent research suggests that diversity does bring benefits to the workplace. People who have similar backgrounds will tend to have similar ideas in the workplace, which causes businesses that lack diversity to examine relatively few options when faced with a problem. In contrast, diverse viewpoints will lead to many new ideas, so businesses that have workers from different backgrounds will have more options and are more likely to find a good solution to their problems.
The trend holds true for almost every type of diversity. The benefit comes from having people with differing perspectives, and those perspectives can come from almost any type of variety in background.
The Ben Franklin Effect
Humans are prone to cognitive biases. Those are normally harmful, but they can actually help to make strong bonds between people, and those bonds will help them to accept those who are different from themselves. The Ben Franklin Effect is the easiest one for most people to use.
It takes advantage of the human brain’s willingness to retroactively justify its actions. When a person does a favor for someone else, even someone that they dislike, their brain will justify that favor by making them like the recipient more. That even works for small favors which the recipient requested, so anyone in the workplace can use this to make friends with others, regardless of their background.
Collective identity is both a blessing and a curse. It causes some people to look at people who differ from themselves as outsiders, which causes resistance to the very idea of diversity. On the other hand, you can also use it to quickly create strong bonds between people.
If you are worried about conflict within a diverse group, you should form them into a team for any type of competition. Working together will strengthen their bonds, and having opponents will cause them to think of themselves as a single group that is united against others. They will form a new identity that accepts diverse individuals as part of their group. The new bonds will persist after the competition ends, which makes this a great way to make a team come together right after it forms.