Diversity has become a hot button topic for organizations around the world. Having a diverse workforce is about more than just a corporate trend. It can be one of the best moves for your business and productivity.
Benefits of diversity in the workplace
Creating an innovative, creative and productive workplace are just a few of the benefits of developing a diversity policy for your organization.
A multi-national study found that diversity and innovation were linked. Companies that were more diverse had 19 percent higher innovation revenues, according to the study by Harvard Business Review. That data was confirmed by another study that found companies with racial and ethnic diversity earned about 35 percent more than the industry average. Furthermore, companies with gender diversity earned around 15 percent more than the industry average.
Yet there are many other benefits to having a diverse workforce including:
- Talent - Having employees from different backgrounds at your organizations can expand the talent and skills that you have to work with. It also offers employees the opportunity to learn from one another, which can, in turn, improve the skill base of your staff.
- Open doors - Employees who have more than one language can help you overcome barriers when working with other cultures or countries. In addition, if you have staff members from different cultures it gives you the opportunity to expand your customer base. It will also help your organization to be more relatable to consumers from different backgrounds.
- Performance - Companies that work to create a diverse workplace often have a more pleasant and positive atmosphere. Employees that work in these types of environments are often more productive.
Challenges of diversity at work
With research support linking diversity to higher productivity, it is not surprising that many organizations feel that diversity is a crucial issue for their workforce. In a PWC survey, 87 percent of respondents indicated that diversity was a top priority for their organization. Additionally, 56 percent of companies have non-discrimination training for their employees. Yet, there are some challenges that can come with implementing diversity at your organization. These include:
- Communication - A diverse workplace will include individuals with different languages. While English may be spoken by all your employees, their proficiency levels may not be the same. This can create some communication challenges for your teams. There can also be language barriers for individuals with gender or age differences. For example, younger employees may use slang words that your more senior employees are not familiar with. Encouraging everyone to be patient and supportive with one another can be a good way to overcome these obstacles.
- Lack of consensus - While diverse perspectives can help fuel innovation, it can also cause teams to stall because they are unable to agree on a solution or idea. Too many opinions can be both a blessing and a curse. However, if you appoint an executive committee who will have the responsibility of selecting the best solution you should be able to tackle this challenge.
- Employee reluctance - Sometimes employees can feel threatened or uncomfortable with your organization’s diversity direction. They may be reluctant to cooperate, which can impair your plans. To overcome this challenge, have your employees go through some diversity training courses. Once there is more awareness among your teams, this reluctance should diminish. You can also use workplace mentoring to help overcome any hostility at your organization. Connecting employees with one another can help foster more understanding and inclusivity.
Impact of diversity on your organization
There are many benefits and challenges to implementing a diversity strategy for your workplace. However, the positive impact that such a move can have on your organization makes it worth the hurdles. It is essential to stay focused on the long term and remember that creating a diverse workplace can take time but it is worth it. Here are some of the impacts that diversity can have on your organization.
- Attract talent - Your organization’s efforts to promote diversity in your workplace can, in turn, reflect well on its reputation. This means that your company will become more attractive to some of the top talent out there. Once qualified candidates know that they can have a successful future at your workplace, even if they are from a minority, you’ll be able to access a wider range of talent and candidates with strong skill sets.
- Connect with consumers - We live in a diverse society. If your company has a range of voices and employees with different backgrounds, you’ll be able to improve your message and reach a broader audience.
- Innovation - In organizations that welcome diversity and a difference of perspectives, research has found there will be more room for creativity and innovation. A team that is diverse will be more accustomed to looking beyond their own perspective or bias and seeing things in a new way. This will have a positive impact on your organization as your teams will be able to develop unique solutions to consumer problems.
If your organization is looking for a way to be successful with diversity initiatives over the long run, see how Together’s mentoring software can help.