Diversity in the workplace offers a lot of advantages. Beyond the fact that making sure many types of people have equal opportunities is the ethical way for any business or organization to operate. Fostering diversity is not hard to do, but it can take some time to diversify your workforce due to shortages of workers in many industries. Regardless, it is something that all companies should strive to achieve.
Here are some of the many advantages of a diverse and inclusive workplace and how you can ensure you can draw on them.
Advantages of a diverse workplace
Fostering increased creativity
Different perspectives enhance creativity. By having a diverse workforce, you are harnessing the creative mindsets of people from many different backgrounds. In today’s business world, you need to have an edge, and diversity can help make sure you have more creative influence.
More creativity may lead to groundbreaking innovation when brainstorming new products and services to offer or when trying to streamline procedures so operations are as efficient as possible. The more minds you have that have different experiences and backgrounds to draw on, the more innovative your company will be in the future. Increasing diversity can help your current employees increase their awareness and change their perspectives so they are more innovative as well.
Today’s business world is extremely competitive, and that means you need to be on top of bringing new products and services to the market that cater to the needs of a diverse customer base. Having a workplace that is diverse drastically increases the odds that you will be able to offer products that are appealing and offer long-term profitability.
When considering any product or service, it is important to think about how it will be perceived by different groups of people. It is easy to only approach things from your own perspective and thus miss out on a good opportunity or cause some groups to have a poor opinion of your company or product.
Increase cultural awareness in your workforce
While diversity is on the rise more in some areas than others, practically everywhere is more culturally diverse than it used to be in the past. If your workforce is not diverse, then you might run into issues with cultural awareness. If people have not had the opportunity to be around others from different backgrounds, then they may not have a high level of cultural awareness.
The solution is to increase diversity in the workplace and consider cultural awareness training. Increasing diversity alone can go a long way to making sure that your workforce has experience working with and appreciating people from different backgrounds.
Workplaces may want to make employees aware of some religious, cultural or social customs so everyone can offer each other a good level of respect and understanding. This is also useful when creating appealing products.
Increase customer connection to your brand
No matter which group you identify with, it can be easier to feel a connection when you see people that you can relate to working for a company.
Diversity may also mean that you have people who speak different languages, which can be a big help when interacting with customers. Consider someone who is just learning to speak English and whose native language is Spanish. If they can do business with your company and speak to someone in the language they are most comfortable with, then it is easier for them. This is a customer you might not have gained otherwise.
When you establish a good connection and level of trust, it is far more likely that your company will be recommended to others. This can increase your customer base among a diverse range of groups and encourage people to apply for employment who come from different backgrounds.
Access to marketing insights
Marketing can be the difference between a successful business and one that doesn’t have lasting power. The more insight you have into the lives of many different groups of people, the better. It is recommended that you have a diverse marketing team if you want to appeal to the general public.
Without diversity in your marketing, it is far too easy to cause offense or fail to make an important connection. A simple example of this is failing to use a variety of people in your advertising. Classic examples of this were ads of the past that featured only Caucasian people or advertisements for household products with misogynistic slogans and content. While some like to say that they are a product of the times in which they were produced, it is doubtful these ads did not cause offense to some people at the time.
Diversity in marketing ensures that you create great campaigns that are inclusive and form a connection that can lead to lifelong customers and recommendations. Marketing must be conducted carefully because, while it is easy to accidentally cause offense or give a bad impression, it can be twice as hard, if not impossible, to undo the damage caused by an inadvertently offensive ad.
Help with employee training
Diversity helps new hires become more culturally aware and can help encourage people from different backgrounds who are highly talented to apply to work for your company. A larger job pool and more diversity means you have an effective workforce that can also help train others. Employees from a diverse range of backgrounds can be encouraged to share aspects of their culture in the workplace and help others from their backgrounds feel more welcome.
Having a very diverse workplace, rather than just one or two employees from different backgrounds, also reduces the feeling that someone is being hired solely for the sake of diversity rather than their skills. You want your company to be known for being truly inclusive and diverse. This will gain you more customers and help attract more talent to your firm.
Increase morale and teamwork
A result of increased innovation and creativity due to diversity can be a higher sense of morale and being part of a great team. This means that your employees will work better together and be happier in their positions. A high level of morale results in a more productive and successful company. In short, diversity really pays off!
Better job retention rates
Finding good employees and keeping them is harder than it used to be in the past. There is a major shortage of workers in a lot of different fields. This means you need to try hard to get the most talented and skilled employees you can and keep them! The competition for talent is high. If you do not create the best working environment you can and appreciate your employees, then someone else will. Keeping up team morale is imperative. When a workforce is diverse, the high level of morale that comes from more innovation and creativity leads to more of your workforce sticking with the company.
Lower training and recruitment costs
There are costs to hiring and training a new employee. This is one reason why it is important to keep talent. Even a very skilled and qualified worker will require a training period to learn their role at your company. During a training period, most workers are not as productive as they are after they have got a feel for how your company works.
Less productivity and the cost of recruitment can add up when you are hiring a workforce. In addition, if you have roles that are not filled while you find a qualified candidate, your firm could lose significant revenue.
Higher average profits
According to a study by Mckinsey, companies that are ranked in the top 25% for ethnic diversity and cultural representation among their management outperformed companies in the bottom 25% by an outstanding 37%. When employees are happy, feel included, and have a workplace that fosters innovation and creativity, everyone performs better, and that is reflected in the profits.
Tips for increasing diversity in the workplace
Advertise positions more widely
Increasing the range of your advertising for available positions is important. If you are not advertising on online job sites that reach many people, then you are missing out. Job boards that have a national and international reach allow your workplace access to an enormous pool of talent. This means you can pick the most talented individuals from a variety of backgrounds.
Attend job fairs
Sometimes, there is nothing like an in-person introduction. Manning a booth at a job fair puts your workplace front and center when it comes to gaining attention. This allows potential applicants who may miss your presence on online job boards to learn about your company.
Job fairs allow potential employees and employers to learn more about each other in a neutral environment. This can help each party decide if it is worth proceeding further with the application and hiring process.
Have a good mission statement
A lot of companies are rethinking their mission statements and ‘About us’ sections on their websites. It’s important to let others know something about your values and ethics. Adding in that, you are a diversity-friendly workplace, and some additional information can help with your image and let others know that you are committed to inclusivity and understanding in the workplace.
Take a firm stance against harassment
Unfortunately, harassment or hateful words and practices can occur in any workplace. If this happens, it is critical that a firm stance is taken against the practice. If your company does not have an inclusive and substantial harassment policy, then you need to make sure you update your employee handbook or the policies that everyone agrees to upon employment. Updates must be distributed to everyone so they have a chance to be clear on the policy.
For most people, these policies are just common sense, but if you have to take disciplinary action against anyone, you need to be able to show that you made an effort to make them aware of your company policy well in advance. You may even want to get everyone to sign that they were given an update, so there is no doubt. Many companies have adopted a no-tolerance policy for some behaviors. You should carefully consult with your management and legal team when adapting your policies.
Tips for a more inclusive workplace
While diversity is important, so is making sure that all employees have a sense of inclusion in the workplace. This means ensuring that everyone feels they have value.
Here are some tips for making your workplace more inclusive.
Hold regular meetings virtually or in-person
Regular meetings give people a chance to have a voice in matters. While some meetings may have specific topics, there should also be general meetings where employees are able to speak up about anything that needs to be addressed. While not all problems can be solved in a single meeting, bringing up problems or pitching ideas at least brings them to attention so they can be given the consideration they deserve.
Have an anonymous way for employees to voice concerns
Sometimes, people can be uncomfortable bringing up a subject and need a way to safely communicate without fear of judgment. Comment cards and a box are the old-fashioned way and can be effective for this purpose. An anonymous way to send an email, such as a digital comment card, is another. Whatever system you use, you need to make sure employees know about it and encourage them to use it any time they feel the need to do so.
Encourage managers and leaders to consider their own bias
Everyone has some type of bias. It could be as simple as preferring one food over another, but it is there. Managers and leaders in the workplace need to be encouraged to consider their own bias and how that affects how they interact with the employees they manage. Self-reflection can help them be aware of their bias so they can avoid it affecting others.
Sometimes, people do not realize that they are shutting out or making someone feel excluded in the workplace. Someone who is doing this can benefit from being told what is happening and given the chance to make things right.
Make sure you have good business leaders
Well-trained leaders can help your company be an inclusive and diverse place to work. St. Bonaventure University offers an online Master of Arts in Leadership that will answer all your questions about why is diversity, equity and inclusion important. With their online program, you can learn how to take a business to the top and ensure that employees feel well cared for and happy in the workplace. As a team leader, you will fulfill a valuable role. In just 15 months, you can earn your degree and open up the doors to many opportunities, including being a team builder for organizations around the globe. All coursework is 100% online. Now is a great time to get your degree and help empower others.
Diversity and inclusion is critical to business success. If your workplace is not diverse, then it is missing out on a rich and creative environment that fosters great morale, which, in turn, can lead to higher profitability.
Working on making your workplace more diverse and inclusive is well worth the effort. It is important that businesses take steps to connect with customers from all walks of life. Now is a great time for a business to encourage their managers and leaders to work towards creating a better working environment for all.