We might not have any choices in the people we’re related to, but we do have a choice with the people we hire. We might not get along all the time, but what’s most important is that our job gets done.

Workplace diversity, as pointed out in this article by Eric Markowitz, can be absolutely critical to success.

Diversity is a key to success

Looking at a study done by Bill Swann, a professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, the goal was to see how employee diversity within work groups actually affects the group’s overall performance.

According to the study, groups with members who openly expressed a sense of individuality found more success than groups with members who often downplayed a sense of individuality. “In essence, Swann found that diversity did indeed foster innovation,” wrote Markowitz, “but only if that diversity was embraced by the group.”

Embrace is the key word here. You might have a great team of individuals on staff, but are they working together to find success? Is diversity even acknowledged in your workplace?

Hiring for talent and keeping your eyes open

You want to hire the right people for the job, but no job is necessarily the same in a company. Diversity in terms of personalities can offer a lot of different angles and approaches to the goals. There must be a sense of focus on the goals of the company in the midst of diversity.

Encourage those who come from different economic and social backgrounds. Don’t downplay one’s take based solely on that person’s past. You hired that person for a reason and you should get the most out of the person while working.

Be mindful of any possible bias or cultural blindspot you might have while hiring. You may have heard about José Zamora who changed his name to “Joe” in order to get a job. Keep your eyes open to the qualifications and not any prejudices that mislead your judgment.

Think of this like having a large meal. We all can bring different takes on food, but we bring them to the same table. You might not like the way everyone at the table eats or how the food was prepared, but the important thing is that you are together. You might never realize that something is equally great even if it’s coming from a completely different approach.