Many people check to see how diverse a company is before choosing to apply to work there in today’s world. It’s therefore crucial for business owners, executives, and recruiters to understand the advantages of cultural diversity in the workplace. You see, it’s not only about employing people with different ethnicities. It’s also about including people from a variety of backgrounds.
For example, when a business hires a workforce composed of individuals based on their ability to get the job done regardless of age, gender, religion, cultural background, and more, the company as a whole benefits. In fact, many now believe that one of the primary advantages of a diverse workforce is creating a business culture and environment that is conducive to critical thought and learning.
Is there a competitive advantage?
Whether a diverse workplace ought to be a primary concern comes down to whether it makes your company more competitive or not. Some believe that it does because in 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the planet, many companies were forced to begin working remotely. In so doing, some turned toward the global workforce for hires because local individuals couldn’t come into the office.
While one can argue that achieving diversity in the workplace doesn’t actually do much in terms of increasing fairness, as an article in the Harvard Business Review notes, some feel it’s still a worthy objective. The reason is that companies that choose to pursue diversity above other business concerns don’t feel the goal is merely a politically correct fad. Instead, they argue that a more diverse workforce can allow a company to outperform its competitors through the following benefits.
Different perspectives and increased creativity
By ensuring that there are people from all walks of life and all different backgrounds working at the same company, you can also guarantee different perspectives. In the same way, the unique experiences of these individuals can enhance creativity through an influx of fresh, new ideas.
For instance, because your company may employ people from various cultures, you may have a deeper insight into the ins and outs of penetrating markets with heavier representations of those societies.
Faster problem-solving through innovation
A more diverse workforce in your business could lead to higher rates of innovation. The reason for this is that employees from a variety of backgrounds are likely to have vastly different outlooks on life and “the right way” of doing things. In other words, diversity can help prevent “in-the-box” thinking. In fact, when these perspectives come together or even clash, companies can solve problems faster and more efficiently.
For example, while the Harvard Business Review suggested that hiring based on diversity doesn’t do much to change how fair a company behaves internally, it also wrote that “teams solve problems faster when they’re more cognitively diverse.”
In other words, when a diverse team is brought together to solve a problem, they typically present a variety of unique and sometimes disparate solutions. Leadership then has a variety of options from which to choose and can do so sooner. Thus, executives solved the problem faster than it might otherwise have been.
Higher employee engagement and reduced turnover
Increased engagement among employees is an outcome of higher diversity in a company’s workforce, according to research conducted by Deloitte, a multinational professional services network. Its research found that businesses operating in health care, manufacturing, and retail saw engagement increase as more people of diverse backgrounds became included.
Companies also saw reduced turnover due to cultures focused on real acceptance of diversity. Consider that when a company demonstrates its commitment to making people of all backgrounds feel welcomed and included, employees are more likely to engage with others, satisfaction with the work environment increases, and as a result, they stay with the company longer.
Diversity and inclusion go hand in hand
Remember that diversity in the workplace can be a great thing. However, it doesn’t mean as much unless those diverse individuals are also included in the workplace. You see, diversity and inclusion are not the same things. You might hire people of all different backgrounds. Still, suppose you don’t actually listen to them or include them in all kinds of positions throughout your organization. In that case, they aren’t really included, are they?
It’s imperative then to create an environment not only of diversity but also of inclusion. Recall that you can increase your company’s ability to share knowledge, increase loyalty, and decrease employee turnover by doing so. You may also enjoy the extra benefit of a corresponding increase in your public reputation.
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