Diversity is essential in business

Like we haven’t heard that a million times. However, diversity IS essential for most businesses today, and a necessity for survival. Whether your company has thousands of employees or just a few individuals, diversity plays an important role in the actions and decisions your business makes. Once an underfunded program run to appeal to the public, most diversity programs now grasp a larger understanding of business and the beneficial effects that diversity can have on it.

Pepsi chairman and executive Eric Foss explains about diversity: “It’s not a fad. It’s not an idea of the month. It’s central and it’s linked very directly to the business strategy. That is the case in great times and in more challenging times.”

However, being diverse can cause bumps in the road too. In any situation where you have people of different ethnicities and preferences coming together, you will have differing opinions, ideas, and societal norms. Although it can be tough at first, working with a diverse team can bring many different points of view together, and often times offer a more complete, comprehensive picture. As consumers and clients also become more diverse, it is important your company reflects those diverse values as well.

Recently, Ryerson University conducted an analysis of about 100 studies which showed “The more organizations embraced elements of diversity in their corporate culture, the more prosperous the company became and the happier and loyal its workforce.”

Having a diverse company can mean many different things. It could mean hiring people from different ethnicities, sexual preferences, religious practices, or educational backgrounds. It could mean purchasing a minimum amount of goods from a minority owned business, or doing business with clients from all over the world. Whatever diversity means to you, it’s something that commands attention.

As simple as a name

Diversity goes hand in hand with cultural awareness and respect, and one of the most fundamental steps towards diversity and awareness is simply knowing the correct pronunciation of co-workers’, clients’, and potential customers’ names. Do you know how pronounce Anita Czgowchwz’s name? In some foreign cases, you may even have trouble distinguishing someone’s sex. Do you address Xiao Zhang as a male or female?

Knowing the correct pronunciation of someone’s name is not always easy, and your counterparts might think the same about you. In many cases, people can have trouble pronouncing your name – I have heard some pretty good variations of Visaisouk (pronounced vee-sigh-sook) over the years. This is especially relevant for companies doing business internationally – even a simple name like Jerry Wright or Paul Jones can give others a hard time if they are from different parts of the world.

Audible Name Tags (ANTs) take charge

It can be difficult to pronounce everyone’s name in which you do business with, but don’t let others feel the same about you. ANTs, or audible name tags, are embeddable icons that you insert into email signature fields, digital documents, and social media profiles. When the icon is clicked, a virtual business card appears containing your contact information, photo, and a pronunciation of your name, in your own voice.

ANTs:

  • Allow others to hear the correct pronunciation of your name in your own voice.
  • Can include a personal photo to connect your name with a face, aiding in recognition.
  • Contain all the contact information of a standard business card.
  • Can consolidate your social media links in one location.
  • Provide a personal introduction through your email, digital documents, and social media profiles.

ANTs themselves are diverse multimedia tools which work with most email systems such as Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo, and MSN. They can be embedded into digital documents like Word, PDF, and PowerPoint files. Audible Name Tags can even be attached to a QR (Quick Response) code and printed on business cards and other materials. They work on mobile phones and take just a few minutes to set up.

For any business, ANTs are a fun and polite way for your employees to learn the names of others and to teach their own names to co-workers, customers, and clients while embracing diversity. Whether you are pursuing new clients or that repeat customer, it is vital to get your name out there. Don’t be shy about who you are! Let others know your name using your Audible Name Tag. In an ever shrinking world, perhaps something as small as an ANT could help create a little more unity and a little less awkwardness.