In the beginning, the term workplace diversity was primarily used to address racial and ethnic diversity. However, in recent years, the term workplace diversity has been expanded to encompass a larger variety of characteristics such as race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, physical abilities and disabilities, religion, political beliefs, education, social, economic background, geographical orientation, language, cultural background and military service.
Today, in the globally connected business world, workplace diversity has transitioned into an increasingly significant factor for attaining strategic management and corporate growth. And for organisations to successfully create, present and sell their goods and services in this global market, they need a diversified workforce. Research has shown that one of the great positives of diversity in business is that it portrays organisations as being socially responsible and inclusive, thereby allowing them more diverse business opportunities
According to Josh Bersin research, inclusive companies are 1.7 times more likely to be innovative leaders in their market. A McKinsey’s research also shows that racially and ethnically diverse companies outperform industry norms by 35%. However, in Europe, a survey shows that despite organisations publicly declaring their commitment to diversity and inclusion, a large number of them are still having difficulties with translating their D&I actions into a strategy. This shows that even though many companies are taking steps towards increasing diversity in their workforces, just a few of them are executing accountability towards achieving the desired D&I result.
For companies to build an inclusive and innovative work culture, regardless of employees gender, age or cultural background, every team member must feel heard and seen. Meaning leaders at companies with diversity and inclusion must promote a work environment that encourages participation and a level playing field. The benefits of workplace diversity are numerous. A Harvard Business Review study study showed that the most diverse companies were also the most innovative, allowing them to market a more excellent range of products to consumers.
What are the benefits of workplace diversity?
Researchers found that when diverse teams made a business decision, they outperformed individual decision-makers up to 87% of the time. This shows that companies who implement workplace diversity not only outperform their competitors but achieve higher financial performance.
Workplace diversity improves acompany’s reputation – And companies with diversified workforce mostly experience many advantages over those who do not have diversified workforce.
According to a Talentlyt article, here are the commonly cited benefits of workplace diversity:
- Variety of different perspectives
- Increased creativity
- Increased problem-solving
- Increased profits
- Improved employee engagement
- Reduced employee turnover
- Improved company reputation
- Improved hiring results
According to a survey conducted by Glassdoor, 67% of job seekers said a diverse workforce is essential when considering job offers, and 57% of employees think their companies should be more diverse. Hence, job seekers are more attracted to companies with diverse workforce because it is evident that the companies promote employment equality and opportunities. In turn, workplace diversity boosts the company’s reputation and brand.
A diverse team also equals a more productive team which in turn leads to better business results and relationships. Thus, when companies work with a heterogeneous team, more diverse and innovative ideas are brought to the table.
Also, workplace diversity leads to higher employee engagement – When employees feel included, they are more engaged and productive. employees tend to stay longer with organisations that include and value them – which lowers turnover rates.
Companies who are also dedicated to building and promoting diversity in the workplace are seen as ethical, more human and socially responsible organisations. And workplace diversity is an especially beneficial asset for attracting top talent from diverse talent pools.
Finally, a diverse workforce, you will make it easier for diverse people to relate to your company and your brand thus opening doors to new markets, customers and business partners.
At Rise and Lead, we believe that to take company culture and business to the next level; organisations need to start leveraging on the advantages of workplace diversity.
Ebere Akadiri is an accomplished entrepreneur and an advocate for women in leadership. Her passion to inspire others to achieve their goals drove her to found Rise and Lead Women along with her co-founder, Poonam Barua. Their mission is to inspire women to take the lead in closing the gender gap in workplaces and in business.