Technological advances and economic globalization have made the world a village. No wonder that large corporates and small companies worldwide are making diversity a key talking point in their employer branding and corporate communication initiatives.
It may seem simple, but achieving diversity is anything but simple. True diversity encompasses race, gender, age, ethnic group, personality, cognitive style, tenure, organizational function, education, background and more. Recruiting, retaining and nurturing diverse talent can have long and short-terms benefits for every company.
A study by Harvard Business School into the ideology of diversity considered two aspects - 1D (intrinsic; including gender, race and ethnicity) and 2D (extrinsic; life experience, work profiles, varying roles, etc). The study found that companies with both types of diversity were 45% more likely to report market success than those that didn’t. The other findings? Diversity made it 70% more likely for business to enter new markets, and clients were more likely to have meaningful relationships with brands that had a diverse employee profile.
As Dr Stephen Covey, author and keynote speaker, famously said: “Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.”
We list down the reasons, how diversity can be a game-changing move for your firm:
It leads to better decision-making
Diversity in the ranks means that there are always multiple views and ideas likely when it comes to the possible outcomes of any action. The many perspectives ensure that supervisors and managers are more likely to consider the risks, implications, and consequences of possible actions, and take more informed decisions. James Surowiecki, in an article in Forbes, said: “Diversity and independence are important because the best collective decisions are the product of disagreement and contest, not consensus or compromise.”
It can enhance productivity at every level
Diverse workplaces are synonymous with high levels of employee engagement. Kelli A. Green, of University of Florida, and her colleagues in their paper, Diversity in the Workplace: Benefits, Challenges, and the Required Managerial Tools, state that workforce diversity can enhance productivity. “The new ideas and process lift employee morale and ensure employees work more efficiently and effectively,” they write. Productivity of individuals, teams and the company benefit from diversity.
It leads to an increase in creativity
An increase in workplace diversity means heterogeneous groups come together to work on different projects and end up bouncing off ideas/suggestions. EthnoConnect, a consulting company specializing in workforce diversity, says “employees from different backgrounds bring in a variety of solutions on how to achieve a common goal”. Culturally diverse team members are more likely to work out innovative solutions and processes. According to a Forbes study, of companies that make at least $500 million, 85% of them agree that one of the most crucial aspects of fostering creativity and innovation is having a diverse workforce.
It can help challenge and retain high-quality talent
One of the most common reason people quit their jobs these days is because they don’t feel challenged enough. Complacency can lead to stagnancy, which often lead top talent to quit. Paul Block, of Merisant, in an article in Harvard Business Review, said: “People with different lifestyles and different backgrounds challenge each other more. Diversity creates dissent, and you need that. Without it, you’re not going to get any deep inquiry or breakthroughs.” People from diverse backgrounds come together to form a stronger, cohesive team.
It leads to better relationships with clients
A diverse collection of people in a workplace brings different experiences, skills and experiences into the mix. This allows a company to provide enhanced customer service to a greater number of people. A diverse workforce understands today’s diverse consumer – the biases, reservations, ambitions and aspirations - much better and can provide personalised services, which are sure to result in longer-lasting and solid client relationships.
It can draw Millennials to your company
Opting for diversity enhances the company’s reputation, and makes it more attractive to empathetic millennials. A recent Deloitte study noted: “Millennials view diversity as the blending of different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives within a team, which is known as cognitive diversity. Millennials view cognitive diversity as a necessary element for innovation, and are 71% more likely to focus on teamwork.”
In the years to come, business that capitalise on diverse voices and include them in decision-making will truly thrive. An inspirational quote by an unknown person says it all: “Diversity is the one true thing we all have in common. Celebrate it every day.”