Diversity is defined as the practice of including people from a range of social and ethnic backgrounds, different genders, and multiple sexualities in an activity and ensuring that no one is excluded based on a specific bias. The recent pandemic has opened up many conversations about diversity – particularly about diversity in the workplace.
A diverse workforce can come with multiple benefits, including enhancing your business’s functions and providing new viewpoints others might not have seen.
Why Is Diversity Important?
When building a workforce, a team comprised of just one skill set, e.g. the whole team being writers, simply won’t work as it can result in a blinkered viewpoint. The same applies to people – hiring people from similar backgrounds, ages, or ethnicities can be limiting.
Prioritising diversity can have many positive effects in the workplace. Many people from marginalised groups may have been affected by negative stereotypes or prejudices, and this may have been limited in their access to jobs and even education. Creating a diverse workplace can help combat this and provide more opportunities to the people best suited to the role.
Incorporating diversity into a workplace is not as difficult as you may think. Taking a step back and starting a conversation about where to improve can help transform a business and open many doors for the company and its employees.
Benefits of Diversity in the Workplace
Here are just a few of the many benefits of diversity within the workplace:
- A variety of perspectives – having many different people from diverse backgrounds will give companies a variety of perspectives to look at when confronting problems or developing new strategies.
- A boosted bottom line – having a diverse workplace can be incredibly profitable – in fact, research has shown that diverse companies are 35% more likely to have greater financial returns than companies who are not. Diverse companies are also 70% more likely to capture more markets, generating even more profit.
- More creativity – diverse companies have the benefit of being able to access multiple perspectives. Multiple viewpoints can generate numerous fresh ideas, leading to a large pot of creative concepts that can drive innovative campaigns and find unique solutions to problems.
- Better problem solving – research has shown that diverse teams are quicker at solving problems. People from diverse backgrounds bring unique experiences and perspectives, which helps them find solutions to issues faster. Better problem-solving means increased productivity, which in turn helps to increase the bottom line.
- Better decision making – some research suggests that diverse workplaces can make for better decision making. A whitepaper from Cloverpop, an online decision-making platform, saw that diverse groups were better at making decisions than individual decision-makers up to 87% of the time.
- Reduced turnover – diverse workplaces improve employee retention as they are generally more inclusive of individual characteristics and perspectives. Companies that focus on diversity help make all employees feel more valued and respected, which results in happier workplaces and therefore, people are more likely to stay for longer. Reducing staff turnover also reduces hiring costs and decreases the chances of a toxic company culture developing.
- Improved hiring results – having a diverse workplace boosts credibility and brand image for employers, presenting them as a much more desirable place to work. 67% of job seekers said that a diverse workforce is an important factor they look for when considering offers. The workforce is continually growing, and more women, ethnic minorities and LGBTQ+ people are seeking to bring their unique skills and experience to the table. Being more diverse can improve hiring results and ensure companies attract the best candidates.
- Improved reputation – diverse businesses emphasising equality are perceived as more relatable and socially responsible. This can increase the company’s reputation within its specific industry.
How to Encourage Diversity in the Workplace
There are several steps that companies can take to foster more diversity within their workplaces:
- Value employees equally – employees who feel valued at work are better connected to their teams and are more productive and creative. Providing incentives, ensuring that all employees are paid fairly, and rewarding good work can give employees a sense of belonging, boosting productivity and innovation across the board.
- Provide opportunities for career advancement – offering clear paths for career advancement and equal growth opportunities is key for employee retention and promoting a diverse work environment.
- Educate employees on diversity – training and seminars can encourage employees to talk about diversity and generate new ideas to create a better culture of inclusion.
A diverse workplace has many benefits for the people who work there and the company as a whole. Emphasising the importance of diversity can have significant social and fiscal benefits and can help combat negative stereotypes and unconscious bias against certain groups of people.
Jane joined Oyster Partnership in November 2017 as a receptionist. She started showing her artistic flair and enthusiasm for all things marketing soon after joining the business. Since then she has worked hard and built her way up from being a receptionist to running the marketing department at Oyster Partnership.
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