Rewarding Diversity Instead Of Productivity

According to a study by Forbes, workplace diversity is a key driver of innovation and a critical component to success. But, what does diversity in the workplace mean? Employees can be diverse because of their race or gender, but they can also differ in what characteristics they bring to your team. Celebrate those differences and you’ll avoid groupthink catastrophes, and your workplace will thrive.

All businesses are made up of diverse personalities that constitute a larger, corporate identity. In order to create and maintain a healthy workplace atmosphere, employees should be recognized for their positive influence on your company’s culture. Yes, even the weird guy showing you pictures of his Persian cat is bringing something to the table.

Here are some team member archetypes who might be shaping your company’s culture:

Top Communicators

Find the people who are known for clarity, consistency, and thoroughness. Maybe they send the most in-depth and thoughtful responses to emails. Maybe they’re the people who are always called upon to be team spokesperson. Whatever the metric, let these employees know their value.

Top Listeners

Equally as important as communication, every company needs people who actively listen. These are the collaborators we rely on to show genuine interest in new ideas, to absorb workplace tension and to remember what was last said in a meeting.

Problem Solvers

No system is one-size-fits-all. People who drive the company forward are those who see an opportunity for improvement and run with it. Whether editing a co-worker’s report or overhauling information systems, these employees are up for the challenge.

Early Adopters

Early adopters champion progress and their enthusiasm makes others want to get in on the ground floor. Early adopters know the latest tool that can help your team succeed, or the next social network your company should be marketing on. They are essential to widespread forward momentum. Their passion for all that’s new quickly snowballs throughout your organization so that everyone wants to be on board.


These employees are the patron saints of workplace wisdom. Not only do they have explanatory superpowers, they are your most patient and knowledgeable assets. They are sought out by employees on their first day of the job, those on their thousandth day, and those who just need a moment’s guidance.

Creative Thinkers

If you want to drive innovation, inspiration, and entertainment, these are the people to seek out. Your creative thinkers, more than anyone, need affirmation from superiors to let them know that their awesome ideas aren’t just awesome in their own heads. Keep in mind that, aside from recognition, these people require a certain level of freedom to do what they do best. You made the box, now let them think outside of it.

Every employee wants affirmation. Hot dog vendors, janitors, python programmers, content strategists — all want to be heard, understood, and reassured of their actions while at work. In business, we tend to recognize employees and co-workers for what they do, but the best companies recognize employees for who they are.  Managers who are savvy make it personal with a handwritten note. Hell, even give the creepy cat guy a custom paperweight etched with your favorite thing about him. (Hint…. it’s not his cat.)

Set time aside every week to acknowledge your key players. A workplace is like an ecosystem in that each employee contributes differently to the office — recognizing their diverse personalities will help reinforce a positive balance and facilitate employee happiness.


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