YKK Fundamental Behavior #5- Embrace Diversity
I could not contain my excitement when I was asked to present this topic to the organization. Being very passionate about diversity and inclusion in the workplace, I immediately began reflecting on my own experience to best capture what this topic means to me and why it is essential for us all.
When I sat down for my interview, the first question that I asked was, “Does YKK AP embrace diversity and inclusion?” With a smile on her face, the VP of HR (my interviewer) pulled out a small booklet and handed it over to me. The booklet contained the 25 YKK AP Fundamental Behaviors, and embracing diversity was one of them. At that time, I knew I was in the right place – an organization that was committed to embracing Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) both inside and beyond the organizational literature. This signal of commitment reflected the values of the organization to its customers and future talent from the earliest point of contact.
During the office tour I was astonished by the diverse and inclusive workforce…men and women, people of different races, and even staff members who spoke with accents just like me. The excitement was building up in me and I could not wait to take on this new role within the organization. If you asked me today why I chose YKK AP as an employer, my answer would center YKK AP’s commitment to diversity and inclusion as the main factor.
Diversity in the workplace matters because it allows us to recognize difference as an asset and not an obstacle; diverse workplaces thus have the opportunity to combine a broad collection of experiences, backgrounds and viewpoints, ultimately leading to better decision-making. Today, leaders who understand this advantage are focused on embracing the strengths of a diverse workforce to cultivate a fair and equal playing field for career opportunities and employee engagement.
YKK AP has taken several strides to make employees feel not only included, but valued and respected; these efforts are shown through celebrations such as Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Saint Patrick’s Day, Cinco De Mayo and Juneteenth. This is not to say that we are “there” yet – we do have a long way to go – but we are certainly heading in the right direction.
Our work environment is ever-changing. Diversity is becoming ingrained into our society, and we encounter a variety of colleagues across generational and cultural differences each day. A homogenous workplace rarely exists, and we must be prepared to adequately welcome and support each person and the unique worldview they bring.
Diversity means nothing if you are not inclusive; you can have a diverse range of people, but that is meaningless if they are not recognized. Always remember to encourage diversity & inclusion in the workplace within and beyond words. Learn about the cultural backgrounds, lives, and interests of employees outside of the workplace and, most importantly, respect one another’s views and opinions.
Organizational Development and Engagement Leader
YKK AP America