The Importance of Diversity in the Workplace

Posted on February 19, 2020 by Doug Crawford, Job Applications.com


Hiring people of different races, genders, and sexual orientations brings several advantages to a workplace. Although there are laws that prevent discrimination based on those differences, it takes effort to diversify a company and cultivate a welcoming environment.

A diverse workforce can help a company succeed in new ways. That’s why more corporations and more are making strong commitments to diversifying. In 2011, Forbes Magazine surveyed hundreds of executives and discovered that nearly all of their businesses had diversity policies in place.

These companies understand the value of diversity. They put together specific strategies to incorporate more perspectives in their operations. This article will explain why diversity is valuable, and what you can do to begin making your own businesses more diverse and inclusive.

Benefits of Diversity in the Workplace

Diversity is a broad term that can refer a variety of characteristics. Diversity plans might include hiring job seekers of varying ages, ethnicities, religions, abilities, and socioeconomic statuses. All of these can affect how people see the world and what skills they bring to the table.

Diversity can help both employers and employees to do their jobs better. Inclusivity sparks ingenuity and helps companies thrive on a global level. Here are some ways both groups benefit from having a diverse workforce.

To Employees

  • Diversity encourages creativity. Different perspectives generate innovation. Each employee has their own worldviews formed by their personal histories and traits. Employees can learn from each other and come up with fresh ideas based on their distinct outlooks.
  • Diversity improves collaboration. Forming a team with a variety of experiences generates brand new solutions to difficult challenges. Those differences prompt new, original suggestions you may not have considered yet.
  • Diversity cultivates a more comfortable work environment. Employees said in a survey that they felt more inclined to share their insight on company products and practices in a diverse, inclusive atmosphere. When they feel accepted and supported, they’re more willing to speak up.

To Employers

  • Diversity attracts top talent. Forbes reported that companies with plans to hire a diverse staff attract some of the best prospects in their fields. New hires are also more willing to stay when they feel at-home in their diverse workplace.
  • Diversity increases profits. Research done by McKinsey & Company showed diversified companies are more profitable. Teams composed of different kinds of people beat out competitors by making better, faster decisions.
  • Diversity looks good, because it is good. Many realize diversity is important and appreciate those who prioritize it. Promising to hire a diverse staff shows your market and community that you appreciate unique outlooks and characteristics.

The Future of Workplace Diversity

The United States is changing, and boardrooms, offices, sales floors, and service desks are, too. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the number of people working or looking for jobs will reach 163.8 million in 2024. Women and racial minorities will make up a bigger portion of that group than ever.

As more minorities enter the workforce, businesses hiring new employees will necessarily become more diverse as well. That’s why it’s important to establish diversity strategies now. They can create a healthy, attractive company culture and stand out as leaders in a time of transition.

Tips to Make Your Business More Diverse

Diversifying a company isn’t easy. It requires planning, careful choosing of appropriate methods, and long-term commitment. Here are some bits of advice for getting started:

Create Diversity & Inclusivity Policies

The first step is to choose realistic goals. For example, you may examine the labor market and strive for proportional representation of all groups. Alternatively, you could focus on hiring more employees of a specific underrepresented demographic.

After you’ve identified your objectives, come up with detailed plans to attain them. Develop policies to encourage and protect employees with diverse backgrounds. Be sure to revise all company procedures so they align with your mission. It’s crucial to show authentic care for the cause at all levels.

Change Your Recruitment & Hiring Process

To find more diverse talent, you’ll likely need to change the hiring process. Consider any subconscious bias you might have and address it head on. Try recruiting in places you hadn’t thought of before. Select a diverse group of interviewers to meet with prospective new hires, and think critically about the questions they’ll ask.

Shift the Company Culture

It’s not enough to have formal policies to promote diversity. It’s crucial to adjust the company culture, too. Progress may be slow because this is the most complicated piece of the puzzle. Everyone contributes to creating a climate of acceptance, so each person must prioritize it. Even diverse businesses can sometimes further improve their company culture.

To do this, you could host inclusion awareness events to get everyone on board with the new objectives and describe why achieving them can be valuable to all. Having a diversity officer in your human resources department is also helpful. It designates a go-to resource for questions and troubleshooting.

Start Small & Be Patient

These are big changes that take time. Problems and unexpected challenges will arise before you achieve your goals, but remember why you set them. Adjust to the hurdles as you can, and do what’s possible to progress each day. Your colleagues and community will thank you.

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