I don’t think anyone can argue that our business world is in the midst of a revolution. There is the unknown ending of a global pandemic, going “to the office” now involves comfy slippers and the installation of ring lights for online meetings, and the historic mass exodus of Americans quitting their jobs and not returning to the workforce aka “The Great Resignation.”
As we are recruiting new talent, let us not forget about the importance of investing in a diverse pool of talent. Workplace diversity encompasses hiring people of different cultural backgrounds, genders, ethnicities, ages, levels of education, disabilities, and sexual orientations. A McKinsey report revealed that organizations with greater diversity (gender/ethnicity) were 15%-35% more likely to perform better financially than their non-diverse industry peers.
Here are the top 6 reasons that reinforce why your organization would benefit from employing a diverse workforce:
Benefit #1: Enriched Company Culture
Company culture is the character and personality of a company. It’s perfectly all right for cultures to vary from company to company, as there are many factors that affect the workplace environment. Diversity encourages an open environment where people feel free and valued to be just who they are while in their workplace.
Benefit #2: Employee Retention
According to Glassdoor, 76% of employee and job seekers say that a diverse workforce is an important attribute when assessing potential jobs and organizations. When employees feel seen, safe, and valued in their workplace, they are engaged and motivated to contribute to the success of their company. High turnover costs everyone time and money, so investing in supporting your employees makes fiscal sense.
Benefit #3: Workplace Productivity
When colleagues of diverse backgrounds work together, they individually contribute a vast variety of skills and experiences that allow broader perspectives, information sharing and infinite creativity. This type of environment innately leads to better ideas, innovation, faster problem-solving, improved decision making, and increases the incentives for people to do business with your organization.
Benefit #4: Sparks Creativity and More Innovation
In today’s environment, organizations need to continually innovate, or face becoming “old school.” A company’s growth and sustainability are related to industry competition, so having the resources to facilitate unique ideas and exceptional concepts will keep your business relevant and prosperous. A Boston Consulting Group survey found that firms with above-average diversity produced 45% of their total revenue from innovation versus their counterparts, with below-average diversity producing only 26%.
Benefit #5: Eliminate Unconscious Bias
Unconscious bias is an unintentional preference that can directly impact your judgement or view. These unintentional assumptions are frequently based on past experiences and/or mistaken or incomplete information. Everyone is affected by unconscious bias, we are all human. In the workplace, it is important to recognize the different types of unconscious bias (ex. affinity, appearance, age, gender, attribution…), promote discussions, manage expectations, and provide transparency in the areas that are most heavily impacted…specifically recruitment and promotion criteria.
Benefit #6: Employer Brand & Reputation
Another recent study noted that 86% of those searching for employment factor in a company’s DEI reputation. Many of these job seekers are demanding DEI transparency and will turn down job offers if they discover lack of, or poor initiatives. Diversity branding is worthless, if your organization is unable to transparently communicate its diversity hiring and DEI efforts and even shortfalls.
Creating a diverse workforce is not effortless. It requires every stage of the hiring process to be focused on. Transparent policies need to be created. Clear expectations communicated with more than just the HR (Human Resource) staff. Evaluation of feedback from all involved in the process and a hard-look at the data from the top of the hiring funnel through the job offer.
Our society is placing a higher priority on diversity, workplace culture and actively partaking in changing how businesses continue to operate. Building a diverse workforce should be a dedicated priority for managers and business leaders alike. As with any endeavor, the more that you invest in it, the more you will be rewarded.