“Workplace diversity” – it sounds a lot like jargon when, in reality, diversity should be a major goal for every company. And it’s not just about your reputation, either. (Although that’s important.) It’s not just about some lofty social goal of “inclusion.” (Although that’s really important.)
No, a diverse workforce has many immediate and tangible benefits to you and your company. To your bottom line. Because workplace diversity lends itself to many high-level goals, such as increased innovation and better results. But we’ll get to that in a moment.
To start, let’s talk about what workplace diversity means: A diverse workforce employs people from all walks of life– all backgrounds, genders, ages, races, religions, and abilities. Individuals from different socioeconomic statuses.
These are employees who will view the world differently, and who will apply their personal circumstances and experiences to contribute unique perspectives to benefit your company. And that’s just the tip of the success-berg. Here are some real and immediate benefits to diversity in the workplace:
A Variety of Perspectives
Put a variety of world views into one room, and you’ll come out the other side with better ideas. It’s simple: When employees of different backgrounds, different cultures, different nationalities, and different perspectives come together, everyone shares a slightly different approach to the job and the problem at hand. And that’s a benefit, as far as your success is concerned.
But, it’s more than that. A diverse workforce also gives you better insight into your customers. They’re diverse too, after all.
Let’s apply this to a real market with real numbers. In 2016, disabled Americans controlled an estimated $544 billion in disposable income. What piece of that pie did you seize? Because, here’s the truth: Organizations that employ disabled workers will, in theory, have greater insight into the services and products that fit the needs of $544 billion in disposable income. Consider what that means to your bottom line.
In the same vein, workplace diversity boosts creativity. Think about it this way: sameness breeds sameness. If you employ only heterogeneous groups – that is, employees who hail from similar cultures, perspectives, and socioeconomic circumstances – then you’re limiting your creativity and innovation. Conversely, employees from diverse backgrounds will bring diverse solutions to achieve a common goal – your goal.
We know – we’re piling on the jargon, but it’s true: workplace diversity not only breeds creativity, but also productivity. And that’s because creativity actually leads to productivity: the more diverse your workforce, the more diverse your brainstorming, the more diverse your solutions, the more diversely productive your team.
Fun fact: According a McKinsey study, U.S. public companies with diverse executive boards have a 95% higher return on equity than do those with homogeneous boards.
Reduced Fear, Improved Performance
The Harvard Business Review recently published research showing that, “… people like to fit in, so they are cautious about sticking their necks out. When we have a strong, homogeneous culture, we stifle the natural cognitive diversity in groups through the pressure to conform.”
A workplace culture of diversity goes a long way toward helping your employees feel included, no matter who they are or where they come from. This inclusiveness helps break down barriers and reduces the fear of being rejected, not only for who your employees are, but for the ideas they voice.
Boost Your Brand’s Reputation
Let’s be honest with each other: When you hire diverse employees, it looks good [because it isgood]. In turn, this diversity engenders goodwill within your community and industry.
To begin, diversity connects you to the community around you. After all, when you employ a diverse workforce, then your workforce directly reflects the community where you are located – and possibly, the community that you serve. Beyond that, a national and international reputation of inclusion can go a long way toward building favor, both in your industry and as a recognized brand.
Looking to the big picture, a diverse workforce – employees of all abilities, creeds, and experiences – make a difference. You have the ability to make a difference, in every community in which you operate, by making a difference in the lives of your employees.
Beyond that, a diverse workforce grants you a diverse and global perspective – a point of view rich with the incredible nuances of human experience and culture – and that means you will have a greater chance of communicating and expanding to more diverse markets, both at home and further afield. Diversity is the chance to successfully develop your business in a global market.
Now, you tell us – what benefits has your company reaped from a more diverse workforce?
Angela Stringfellow is a writer with 10+ years of experience. She focuses on news, trends, and insights in marketing, business, and technology.