Skip main navigation

£199.99 £139.99 for one year of Unlimited learning. Offer ends on 28 February 2023 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply

Find out more

Diverse work cultures

What is a diverse work culture? Watch Alex, Adiba and Nathan explain more.
<v ->I think it’s always great to learn</v> from people who are not like you. If you’re learning from people who look like you, are from the same background as you, you know, you don’t really get a feel of what the real world is like, and, so, I think, you know, that diversity of thought, but, a lot of people, they take thought, and they can see it as, you know, well, if someone looks like me, but they’re from a different country, that’s enough. It’s kind of, you know, beyond that. It’s like, you know, people’s experiences are very, are very specific. So, having a team where that is represented is amazing.
<v ->I think what works well in diverse work groups</v> would probably be the energy. It’s great. It’s quite refreshing to have people and individuals from so many different backgrounds, or so many different ways of solving problems. And I think the great thing about it is, it just feels so easy. It’s just like, this is, this is really easy. This is not something which I need to solve by myself. And that collective spirit of different people allows for, what do they normally say… “A problem shared is a problem solved.” So, that’s what it does feel like. By bringing together different people, you do have that, that sense of satisfaction that you’ve all collectively done something together.
And then I think the output of that would probably be, maybe customers being really happy with the product which they’ve got. <v ->There was an engineering manager at Google,</v> who really shared some things that he was experiencing in terms of, you know, hiring at Google, and the way that engineers were hired from different backgrounds. And he found that, you know, the candidates that were perceived as, you know, stronger candidates had came from universities like Stanford. They have modules there, at Stanford, which, you know, prepared them for these really exclusive interview processes. And then if you looked, you know, at the East Coast, for example, a university like Howard, they were not doing that.
So, it wasn’t a, you know, these candidates were, you know, poor candidates or, you know, could not work at those companies. It was just more of a, you know, even the teaching and how that was shaped. And I think that him sharing a bit of that on Twitter was really helpful. And it kind of put that in different people’s minds and changed some thoughts around bias, or around hiring processes within tech. <v ->A lot of times people use this word ‘safe-space’</v> and I’m like, bro, you can’t really create a ‘safe-space’ what you can try to do is create the safest space possible.
And to create the safest space possible, you kind of have to make people feel comfortable to be in that presence. Or you have to take into consideration who they are as human beings, their mental health, their physical health, their spiritual health, what they deem as important. You have to be accountable for your actions. You know, you have to make sure you protect them from other people. So, how do you deal with stuff when something goes wrong? You know, how do you have a policy for that? Safeguarding… I think the key thing for me is the safest space possible. I don’t think I can create a ‘safe-space’. That, that’s just a, that’s a flawed concept.
But, I think can we get the safest space for people to feel like… okay, this is a space for them, and also giving them the opportunity to co-design that space.

In the last activity, we explored perceptions of identity, behaviours that relate to identity and how terminology matters when talking about race. Now, we’re going to bring that thinking to the topic of diverse work cultures.

In this video, you hear Adiba and Nathan talking about the benefits of learning from people who are not like you. For Nathan, being in a group of people from different backgrounds is refreshing and creates energy. It can also make things feel easier, and give people the confidence they don’t have to solve problems alone. Organisations that can facilitate this give employees a sense of satisfaction, and this can lead to happier customers down the line. Alex also shares his perspectives on creating the safest spaces possible in workplaces.

Now you’ve watched the video, it’s over to you. What benefits have you experienced from working with people from different backgrounds? What defines a safe space for you?

Share your thoughts in the comments below and take a moment to read and respond to others.

Further Resources:

  1. Houston Innovators Podcast, Episode 70 – Innovation is impossible without diversity – Ashley Small of Medley Inc.
This article is from the free online

Supporting Diverse Innovation

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education