In this era globalization, many organizations are putting in effort to succeed in having diversity in their workplace. Embracing diversity is a critical step for your business to grow and to make an impact on a global scale, but very often, it is difficult to discern the true benefits of diversity and, if you are unaware of its benefits, how will you ever push for it? Before we dive into the main benefits though, what exactly do we mean when we say diversity in the workplace?
Diversity in the workplace is when businesses are open to hiring employees from different backgrounds; regardless of race, religion and culture. When companies recruit and retain a diverse pool of people, it brings about different benefits to the company as well as its employees.
“The best workforce is a diverse workforce.”
Ted Colbert, Boeing’s CIO
Image from Canva
We know diversification matters; there is a great deal of research showing the advantages of it in companies. Diversity was identified as a key driver of innovation by a 2017 Boston Consulting Group (BCG) study; it found that diverse teams produced 19% more revenue. Results showed that these companies develop more relevant products because they are more in tune with the customers changing needs. Their adaptability is an outcome of varying backgrounds and perspectives generating an array of insights, ideas and solutions. Here, we have listed a few awesome benefits of diversity at work, to help people understand why your company needs to enact diversity initiatives immediately.
Inspire creativity and drive innovation
Our culture influences the way in which we see the world. A variety of viewpoints along with the wide-ranging personal and professional experience of an international team can offer new perspectives that will inspire colleagues to see the workplace and the world in a different manner.
Diversification of thought has been shown to breed creativity and drive innovation, helping to solve problems and meet customer needs in new and impressive ways. For example, a cosmetic giant attributes much of its extraordinary success in emerging markets to its multicultural product development teams.
Multiple voices, perspectives, and personalities bouncing off one another can give rise to out-of-the-box thinking. By offering a platform for the open exchange of ideas, businesses can reap the biggest benefits of diversity in the workplace. A study from Forbes echoed this notion, concluding that the best way to ensure the development of new ideas is through a diverse and inclusive workforce.
Many studies have shown that increased cultural diversity in the workplace can lead to greater profits for the organization. A survey undertaken by think tank, Center for Talent Innovation, found that 48 percent of companies in the US with a more diverse senior management level improved their market share from the previous year, while only 33 percent of companies with less diverse management reported similar growth. This may be in part to global business trends and the benefits of language diversity.
A multicultural workforce can give an organization an important edge when expanding into new markets. Often, a product or service needs to be adapted to succeed overseas. Understanding local laws, regulations, and customs, as well as the competitive landscape, can help a business to thrive. Moreover, local connections, native language skills, and cultural understanding can boost international business development exponentially and ultimately be even more profitable. For example, if an organization has business dealings in China, hiring employees fluent in Mandarin has a better chance of increasing the company’s reputation in Chinese communities thus resulting in a hike in sales.
Retain and attract the best talent
What better way to learn about other culture and ethnicity than from employees who come from a different background? Forget about researching them online. Ask and learn from employees during lunch breaks or after work drinks. Having a pool of diverse employees enables one to learn more about each other’s lifestyle and culture. When employees begin to share their personal experiences like when they were in high school or what festive seasons mean to them, they are building trust in the relationship. This is great for the company because it increases employee engagement and will even boost employee motivation as well.
According to a Glassdoor survey, two thirds of job hunters indicated that diversity to be an important factor to them when evaluating companies and job offers. In a competitive global job market, demonstrating that your business is vested in fostering a multicultural and inclusive environment helps you stand out in the eyes of top candidates. Making diversification an important part of the recruiting process will broaden your talent pool of prospective elite employees.
When you are next planning to hire new employees, consider making an effort to hire a diverse range of people, across gender, age and cultural backgrounds. However, do note that it is not just about getting a diverse population in the doors. A recent study revealed that diversity must be followed up with inclusivity at all levels of decision-making to maximize business performance. Lasting success is only found when the diverse leadership team is truly committed to inclusivity in every aspect of their company culture.