Many companies appreciate the value of diversity because they know that getting a lot of people with different types of backgrounds has the potential to really improve their products and services. By having many different people who have had many different experiences, there is a good chance that any problems with your product will be caught before the product actually goes into production, allowing you to save money on costly re-creation and redevelopment. However, workplace diversity has a few additional challenges that you will need to work through. One way to ease these challenges is to improve communication. Here are some tips.
1. Have Programs That Teach Active Listening
You are not going to be able to reap the financial benefits of diversity if you don't actually listen to the input of all of your team members. One member might spot a problem with your product, but if the other 9 team members talk over him or her, then that problem won't come back up until the product is about to ship or, worse, has already shipped. Hire a company that specializes in interactive diversity programs to help condition all of your team members to be better active listeners. This will allow you to help your team members to feel appreciated and to be more willing to share their opinions and expertise because they are actually being heard.
2. Call Out Chronic Interrupters
The next thing that you need to do is call out chronic interrupters. Some people have a lot of ideas and opinions and are very excited to share them with the rest of the team. This is great enthusiasm, but it can result in softer-spoken team members being talked over and not having their opinions and ideas heard. This can result in difficulties in the development process. Try to get into the habit of stopping anyone who has interrupted and returning the floor to the team member that was originally speaking. This will allow that team member to feel fully heard. If calling out team members for interrupting is too aggressive, talk to the team members separately and ask them to try to improve their overall behavior in meetings.
For more information, talk to a company that specializes in interactive diversity programs. These programs will help get your team members into the heads of their peers that might have different experiences, allowing them to work more effectively with those peers.