Workplace diversity: Why it matters and how it impacts your organization
Updated: Jul 10, 2020
Workplace diversity should be a major goal for every company. And it’s not just about enhancing your reputation or doing the right thing. Studies have shown that a diverse workforce has immediate and tangible benefits to your company and your bottom line. That’s something that every business can get behind.
When we talk about a diverse workforce, what does this mean? Employee diversity takes multiple forms. There are the commonly considered inborn traits of age, gender, ethnicity, race and sexual orientation. Other types of diversity, however, are those that can be acquired through experience. They can involve areas of study, industry background, career path, veteran status and foreign work experience whereby one learns to appreciate cultural differences. These diverse employees may view the world differently and will be able to apply their personal circumstances and experiences to contribute unique perspectives to benefit your company.
Need convincing? Here are five ways that a diverse workforce can directly improve your company.
1) A Variety of Perspectives
When employees of different backgrounds, cultures, nationalities, and perspectives come together, everyone shares a slightly different approach to the job and the problem at hand. And that's a benefit, as far as your success is concerned. But, it’s more than that. A diverse workforce also gives you better insight into your customers, who are also diverse.
2) Drives Innovation
Similar to a variety of perspectives, diverse employees also help to bring about innovation. Homogenous teams can lead to complacency and sameness in thinking. But diverse employees will have a wide range of experiences, which can help generate new ideas about products and practices. When members of diverse teams see things in a variety of ways, they can recognize new market opportunities, and they can better appreciate unmet market needs. A study by Deloitte shows that when employees feel that their workplaces support diversity and inclusion, innovation can increase up to 83%.
3) Improves Recruiting and Retention
By building a reputation for valuing differences, you’ll increase your ability to attract talented employees. Top prospective employees want to feel like they will be valued, and having a workforce that includes a variety of backgrounds and ideas signals to prospective employees that your culture is inclusive. This also helps to produce greater employee commitment and motivation, which can improve costly employee turnover.
4) Reduced Fear, Improved Performance
The Harvard Business Review published research showing that, “… people like to fit in, so they are cautious about sticking their necks out. When we have a strong, homogeneous culture, we stifle the natural cognitive diversity in groups through the pressure to conform.”
A workplace culture of diversity goes a long way toward helping your employees feel included, no matter who they are or where they come from. This inclusiveness helps break down barriers and reduces the fear of being rejected, not only for who your employees are, but also for their ideas.
5) Better Connection with the Community
Diversity connects you to the community around you. After all, when you employ a diverse workforce, then your workforce directly reflects the community where you are located – and possibly, the community that you serve. Beyond that, a national and international reputation of inclusion can go a long way toward building favor, both in your industry and as a recognized brand.
The globalization of business has created a sophisticated, complex, and competitive environment. To be successful, companies need to continually create new products and services. And the best way to ensure the development of new ideas is through a diverse and inclusive workforce.
If you want to learn more about recruiting for diversity, contact us. We’ll work with you to find out what diversity recruiting means to you and help you determine ways to improve that recruiting.