What words or phrases come to mind when you think of diversity? Typical responses include things like color, ethnicity, people with disabilities, gender, age, family status, religion or sexual orientation. But diversity goes way beyond the typical responses. It also includes things like appearance, communication style, music interests, mobility, job status, national origin, socio/economic status, language, regional origin, military status, political affiliation, and we could fill this page and others with additional examples. If you want employees to do a better job of serving your diverse customers, you might start by helping employees to understand the broad concept of diversity.
Studies have shown that often people are discriminated against because they are different from the person or persons serving them. The reason sometimes lies with the fact that service providers are not aware of their own prejudices; and while awareness isn’t enough, it’s a good first step. With heightened awareness we can better monitor our sub-conscious actions, which may be discriminatory. These actions are often based on past experiences and/or learned attitudes—creating prejudices. With awareness and a conscious service focus, these inappropriate behaviors can be eliminated.