Benefits of Recruiting a Diverse Workforce
A diverse workforce offers a wide spectrum of benefits to businesses. Learn more about it here.
There is a wide spectrum of benefits that accrue to businesses that develop workforce diversity and inclusion that represents the real communities they belong in and operate in. Companies that embrace diversity see real, tangible benefits in their bottom line as well as significant functional, social, and economic gains.
Workplace diversity is a simple term for the complex subject of building a workplace that encompasses a representative spectrum of race, gender, age, ethnicity, education, sociocultural background, and much more. Diversity is measured in how people perceive themselves, how others perceive them, how they perceive others, and also how they self-evaluate. Perceptions form and drive interaction. True diversity is felt in every exchange and influences all aspects of a business, from the mundane to the strategic.
HR staff must provide and constantly evaluate communication and the process of cohesion for a truly diverse workforce to function well in an organization. This is to keep positive and productive relationships and help with misunderstandings. The management of diversity aims to engender and sustain a great, inclusive, and lively work environment in which the variety and common ground of the team are celebrated and allow both individuals and the team to cohere. Cohesion in a team is the most powerful tool in creating an agile, robust, and dynamic workplace.
Workplace diversity results from broadening the variety of backgrounds, experiences, and lifestyle choices of employees in an organization. This diversity includes, but is not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, age, physical abilities, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, educational background, and nationality of origin. A diverse workplace is one in which the communities that a business belongs to and serves are represented among its team members. It reflects the diversity of the surrounding and related environments/society.
However, it is important for organizations to recognize that diversity is not just representative of those communities. It should embrace and empower diverse team members to belong, achieve, and grow. Businesses should not only strive for diversity, but also for inclusivity.
A workplace aiming for diversity seeks to fill roles with talented individuals who collectively represent a broad range of origins, orientations, and lifestyles. The value propositions that result from diversity are:
- Increased creativity and innovation result in strong outcomes for teams when the individuals are exposed to less uniformity in thinking and problem-solving.
- Enables companies to tap into a broader talent pool. It is widely demonstrated to improve the attraction and retention of talent.
- Leads to better decision-making, by drawing as diverse team members do on a wider range of perspectives and insights. Such teams are better equipped to understand and address the needs of real-world customers.
- Cultural competence and understanding of the company's place in the world. The market results in products and services that are more relevant and appealing to the real customer base.
- Employees who feel respected and included in this diversity are more likely to be engaged and satisfied in their work. This results in greater productivity and better outcomes for the company.
Diversity often has significant and far-reaching effects on innovation and creativity in most types of work environments. Some of the key influences are:
- Diverse workplaces tend to spark ideas that lead to innovative solutions to problems. They make for more-stretching environments, in which mutual understanding is the result of careful effort, rather than the default thinking that uniformity too often produces.
- Cultural and social mixing can often bring a wider variety of skills and expertise to the conversation. This results in a more stimulating environment and more creative solutions to problems, as team members draw on each other's skills and experiences.
- When a team is composed of more diverse individuals, consideration of wider perspectives often results. Inclusive decision-making and willingness to take thoughtful risks are widely reported as resulting from diversity.
- Diversity can create an environment in which team members feel more comfortable sharing knowledge and thoughts, widening the ideas gene pool.
- Better customer insights come from understanding the needs and preferences of a diverse customer base.
Workplace diversity has been demonstrated to have subtle, beneficial effects on most aspects of a business’s performance. Workplace diversity will usually enhance a company's profile, by demonstrating its commitment to inclusivity and diversity. It helps attract a wider range of customers, investors, and partners. Perception, the unspoken views of a company in the market, among partners, and in the community, are intangible assets. Workplaces that show a real, structural commitment to diversity as a business practice are more likely to be seen as innovative and forward-thinking, which can increase their appeal to all comers. Reputation is the spoken view of a company in the market, among partners, and in the community. Reputation as a responsible and ethical employer can be a huge driver of connectivity and opportunity, talent attraction, productivity, and market position. Teams that possess status and believe in themselves simply do better.
It is easy to dismiss the concept of diversity in the workplace as a fashionable but business-irrelevant idea. This is a common attitude, but it misses the opportunity that diversity presents. Companies with societally representative boards (more female directors, more “minorities”, and more backgrounds represented) generally outperform those composed wholly of cis-male-white members. Companies that have (and talk about) diversity in their workforce is generally among the best performing. The feedback loops are complex, but the outcomes are definitive. The most creative and agile companies in almost every sector recruit widely from varied communities, and they make it a matter of policy to aim for representative populations at all levels. Happy teams keep their skills and their people on the job and offer everyone an attractive career path that acts as the glue.
Workplace diversity is not a display mode, but a way of building successful, robust, and clever companies.