By Teuila Hanson, AECOM Vice President, Diversity and Inclusion

There are several lessons that come with understanding global diversity. Here are a few:

1. Both a benefit and challenge with global diversity is that it is complex. At AECOM we discuss global diversity in terms of twenty-five different dimensions. These are internal, external and organizational dimensions that people use to define themselves and others. Therefore, you can never make assumptions about one’s culture, ethnicity, nationality, religion, etc., because diversity differs with everyone. Appreciating this complexity is key to having a true understanding of global diversity.

2. A central step to advancing diversity and fostering an inclusive environment is dependent on how aware people are about their unconscious biases and/or filters. Once you become aware of your biases and acknowledge that they exist, the real benefits of diversity and inclusion can be realized. Bias awareness and education is essential to any global diversity training program.

3. A long-term and sustainable global diversity program is “slow work.” It requires patience, fortitude and the ability to appreciate and celebrate small wins. Don’t expect quick results and overnight successes.