“Diversity” isn’t a politically-correct buzzword that’s thrown around. There are concrete, real advantages of diversity in the workplace. Many companies know that they should try to hire diverse employees, but the benefits of a diverse workforce might not be obvious at first blush.
A key to keep in mind when working toward a diverse workplace is that diversity is not a bingo card with squares you can check off. Diversity doesn’t just mean racial diversity either – it can include national diversity (employees with green cards), women (especially in male-dominated fields), LGBTQIA employees, religious diversity, disabled employees, and even just employees with varied and diverse work experiences. In short, diversity comes in all shapes and sizes. Put away any idea of meeting ‘quotas’ and focus instead on keeping an open mind.#Glassdoor found that 67% of people weigh #Diversity as a factor when deciding where to #Work. Click To Tweet
If you’re interested in learning about advantages of diversity in the workplace, just keep reading.
1. Diversity fosters innovation.
Birds of a feather flock together – aka if you put five people in the same room that have the same background, they will likely come up with similar ideas to approach a problem. If you put together a diverse group of five people and offer them the same problem, you might surprised the solutions that are offered. Experience influences the lens through which each individual sees the world. A crab fisherman from Alaska will innately approach problems differently than a working professional from New York City or a Chinese Ph.D. graduate.
Diverse teams have been shown to be more productive, more creative, and more innovative than teams consisting of teammates within a similar demographic. Promoting diversity not only within your organization as a whole, but within departments or teams will boost your company’s productivity.
2. Opens global opportunities.
Let’s face it – the Internet has brought people all over the world closer than has ever been possible. For many companies, it’s not enough to set your eyes on conquering your home marketplace. It’s about becoming a world leader in your industry. It’s possible that you already do business with vendors or clients in numerous countries. Diversity in your workplace often means uniquely diverse skillsets that can translate to a global stage. Do you have employees that speak other languages? Understand other cultures? Have friends in other countries? Perhaps you have an employee with knowledge of local marketplace conditions. These are all advantages of diversity in the workplace.
3. Improves your organization’s culture.
Millennials are the most diverse working generation in history. When your organization is perceived as accepting, diverse, and inclusive, it’ll increase your talent pool, draw in star candidates, and create a happier, more productive workplace. Many Millennials look for the ability to bring their ‘whole’ selves with them to work – they don’t want to worry about discrimination for being authentically themselves. Creating a diverse workplace can improve retention, increase your chances of snagging your favorite potential hire, and improve morale.
A survey by Glassdoor found that 67% of people weigh diversity as a factor when deciding where to work. This becomes even starker when looking at minority groups – 72% of women are interested in working in diverse workplaces along with 70% Latinx, 80% of Asian, and 89% of Black respondents.
4. Improve your company’s brand.
Just like with office culture, creating a diverse workforce can improve your customers’ opinions of you. Remember, Millennials are not just employees but consumers. They look for the same qualities in the companies that they purchase from as they do from companies they might work for. Diverse companies show consumers that they are inclusive, global minded, innovative, and looking toward the future. As you’ve probably heard, the generation in school today is the most diverse generation in history. Diversity is only going to increase in this post-Internet world so it’s important for companies to not only passively promote diversity, but that they create initiatives to ensure that diverse employees are not only recruited but supported within the workplace.
5. Offer better customer service.
Diverse employees can better assist a diverse customer base. From speaking ASL to understanding customs in other countries, your employees will bring unique skills to the table that make them uniquely suited to interacting with your customers.
For example, most consumer buying power rests within the hands of women that control the household. If you work for an all-male tech startup, you could be accidentally alienating a core customer base if you hire no women. Customers like to speak to people that understand their experiences, see their grievances, can recommend products and services that work for their unique situations. Hiring diverse employees will help your company relate to your customer base.
In short, the advantages of diversity in the workplace have far-ranging effects from profits, your brand and customer loyalty, to your talent base, employee satisfaction, and ability for innovation and creativity.
The advantages of diversity in the workplace do not come without challenges.
It is important to remember that creating a diverse workforce, while worthwhile and powerful, while likely involve a few hiccups. The way to reduce the number of issues your workplace encounters will stem from planning. Creating guidelines for employee behavior and compensation will be important, as will creating resources and supporting diverse employees. Unfortunately, statistics show us that racial minorities still suffer from a wage gap where Black workers earn $0.65 for every dollar a white co-worker earns. Creating policies upfront will help to circumvent these unfortunate occurrences, ensure that your workplace is accessible and inclusive, and improve employee satisfaction.
The bottom line that we want to stress is that while the advantage of diversity in the workplace can be wonderful, organizations must go into it with their eyes open. If you are smart and thoughtful about your policies, compensation packages, and resources, you can create a diverse, innovative, creative, motivated workforce of global citizens.
Are there any advantages of diversity in the workplace that we forget to mention? Let us know in the comments.