The Borg don’t do Diversity

 

In Star Trek when the Enterprise first encounters the Borg they announce themselves with the now infamous phrase   “  We are the Borg,  resistance is futile , you will be assimilated.”   Is your organisation like the Borg seeking out people from different cultures and backgrounds to add their knowledge and skills to benefit the company  but expecting them to give up their individuality and culture in order to fit in?

 

A Borg organisation wants the advantages that come with diversity but non of the challenges. A Borg organisation is technologically advanced, quick to adapt, keen to take on board new knowledge and skills. The empathise is on team work and communication, roles are clearly defined and rigidly adhered to. The leadership and management style allow for no dissent, their is no scope for creativity, no such thing as being different, to be accepted you must be like everyone else (whilst at work).  

 

Organisation have a tendency to be like the Borg and seek to assimilate  rather than integrate people into the workforce. Rather than celebrate diversity they flatten it out. 

People who are different are said to be an asset but then forced to down play that difference.

 

 An organisation that seeks to integrate people who are different does not require them to change or be something they are not in order be accepted. The leadership and management style reflects a willingness to debate, to accept the expression of legitimate concerns without seeing this as disloyalty, to encourage creativity, to acknowledge the contributions and insight that diversity offers and manage those differences rather than ignore them or suppressing them. To be promoted you do not have to be one of the “boys” . Your religion, gender ,sexuality, or ethnicity is not seen as a handicap to be played down . As in your “Muslimness makes others uncomfortable.”  And is the reason you are overlooked for promotion. 

 

Equality and Diversity risk becoming empty rhetoric if an organisation does not also promote integration over assimilation. 
 

Blair Mcpherson former Director and author of An Elephant in the Room an equality and diversity manual published by Russell House. www.blairmcpherson.co.uk 

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