By Stefan Doll of NZ Institute for Diversity and Wellbeing.

People are different. I am not only talking about visible differences like age, gender or ethnicity. I am also talking about different needs, fears, habits, backgrounds, values, and different ways of thinking. No one is the same. The diversity in our communities continues to grow with an increase in global migration. How can a Not-for-Profit organisations best cater to the needs of our diverse community? How can we effectively engage with them and do our work in their best interest and the most efficient way?

We will have to overcome falling into some common traps:

Trap 1: We assume that people are similar to ourselves and neglect our differences.

Trap 2: We are holding stereotypes and assumptions based on the differences we recognise.

Trap 3: We are biased towards a person based on very little, often irrelevant information.

Trap 4: Unconscious bias is impacting our actions, often against our conscious believes and intend.

Differences among people are a fact of life and we cannot resolve them by trying to make everyone the same. If we deliver our service always in the same way no matter who we provide it to, the chances are high that this works well for some clients and not so well for others. So how can we stop falling into those traps and understand, acknowledge and appreciate the differences between people instead?

If you are interested in a one day workshop on how to successfully engage with our diverse community, reduce bias and unconscious bias in ourselves and others, please register your interest by emailing kathy@socialink.org.nz