Building an Interesting Workforce

Talking about workforce diversity – or a lack of it – can be tricky stuff. It makes some people squirm. Others feel like they need to “take a side” or mask how they really feel for fear of offending someone.  I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately, and have decided that maybe it’s the word diversity that’s the problem.

Instead of talking about creating a more diverse workforce, maybe we should be talking about creating a more interesting one (and no, I’m not saying you’re boring!). Here’s how I see it:  Why would I want to work with people who are just like me? That would be no fun! We would agree on everything, do everything the same way, and look at problems – and devise solutions – through the same lens. It would also make for some really lame office potlucks if everyone was cooking from the same cookbook! I want to work with interesting people AND eat interesting food!

I don’t know about you, but I appreciate the opportunity to work with people from a variety of cultures and backgrounds. I enjoy learning from colleagues who have lived in interesting places, worked in interesting jobs, and studied at interesting schools. I want to understand how they’ve tackled problems, introduced new concepts and brought innovation into the workplace. And because we’re all interesting—but maybe not interested in the same things—there will be times when we don’t agree. This can lead to some very thought-provoking discussions. Now that would be interesting!  I say, bring it on!

Do an online search and you’ll see articles and studies indicating the benefits of an interesting (they’ll call it diverse) workforce: higher earnings, overall business growth, increased creativity, greater innovation, etc. I’m all for that. Who’s with me?

At JDA, we embrace what makes us interesting and continue to focus on building teams that reflect our uniqueness. We have recently put additional focus on increasing the number of women in our global workforce. As such, each Wednesday our Supply Chain Nation blog will feature stories around women in technology. This “Wednesdays for Women” focus will include interviews with successful women at JDA, features on some amazing women who also happen to be our customers (there are many!), perspectives from some of the men at JDA, and more! I’m looking forward to learning more about and hearing from these interesting people, look forward to some great discussion in the weeks ahead. Let me know your thoughts on the topic – I’m interested in that, too!

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