The benefits of diversity in the workplace
Whilst the phrase ‘diverse workforce’ might sound like just another business buzzword, it is a key component in a company’s success.
Research by McKinsey indicates that companies with a good mix of racial and ethnic backgrounds are 35% more likely to financially outperform their competitors.
And those with a healthy gender balance are 15% more likely to outperform their competitors.
Firms that offer an inclusive environment for a diverse mix of employees stand to innovate, grow and outperform those around them. Businesses must therefore strive to create a diverse workforce.
What is workplace diversity?
Put simply, in the context of work, the term ‘diversity’ means employing people who come from a range of backgrounds and creating an environment that welcomes people from ‘all walks of life’.
Workplace diversity is the act of hiring and accepting those who inherently have, for example, different genders, races, religions, nationalities, sexual orientations and abilities.
This is alongside hiring those who have acquired diverse expertise—such as cultural fluency, language skills, generational savvy and social media skills. The list can go on and on.
The importance of diversity in the workplace
There’s no denying that workplace diversity has many instant and tangible benefits to your business.
It produces better creativity, increased productivity and a wealth of varied perspectives. It is these factors that equate to better, more profitable results for your business.
It is important to note here that diversity must also be backed up by inclusivity at all levels.
It is not enough to just have a diverse workforce; you must accept and embrace the differences your workforce exhibits to really see how valuable it is for your company.
The following examples are just a few of the real and immediate benefits of creating an inclusive diverse workforce.
Increased creativity and productivity
Workplace diversity breeds creativity, which then boosts productivity.
Think about it like this: a diverse environment is like a big melting pot for fresh ideas. This melting pot allows for new ways of thinking and really allows the creative juices to flow. The more diverse your workforce, the more diverse your skill set and the more innovative your solutions to problems will be.
When employees feel involved, respected and connected, employers can tap into a greater richness of innovative ideas and problem-solving approaches.
In fact, diverse teams are known to make decisions a lot faster than individual workers: they benefit from a 60% improvement in decision making.
A variety of perspectives
It is important that your business has diverse views, talent and thinking so it reflects the society in which we work.
It’s pretty simple: put a group of employees together who have a range of world views and you will come out the other side with better ideas.
An array of perspectives in the workforce is vital to developing and executing business strategies.
For example, it gives you a better insight into your customers because, after all, they are diverse too!
This allows you to reach consumers in an authentic way and deliver better results to your customer base.
Better for hiring
Diversity helps to promote your brand and presents your company as a more desirable place to work.
A PwC study claims that 86% of female millennials said employer policies on diversity and workplace inclusion was important when making a decision on where to work.
A more diverse workforce enables you to attract the top talent from a wide range of sectors.
To remain as a progressive business, you must embrace diversity and inclusion as a means of forging a sustainable future for both you and your employees.
Reduced employee turnover
It might seem obvious, but retention of staff improves when you value, accept and respect your employees.
So, whilst a diverse workforce can help you attract new talent, it also helps you to retain your current talent.
Why? Because accepting people’s differences and valuing them based on merit shows that you are not just ‘ticking a box’ to fill your diversity quota.
The happier and more included your employees feel, the longer they are likely to stay with your company.
Increase in profits
Diversity helps businesses deliver sustainable growth and ultimately create more profit.
According to another study by McKinsey, UK companies with diverse executive boards have a 66% higher return on equity than those with homogenous boards.
So, as far as success of your business is concerned, a diverse workforce is vital to the numbers game too.
Of course, these points aren’t the only advantages of having a diverse and inclusive workforce, but it is clear how important it is not only for your business, but for your employees and those who are seeking future employment.