Diversity in the workplace has been a topic of conversation for years. With the changing ethnic, gender, and other forms of diversity of the population has come a new focus on the benefits of diversity and inclusion at work.
Researchers have long tried to quantify the effects of paying attention to inclusion and diversity within the business. Does it really pay to take the effort to ensure diversity and inclusion within your employees and leadership?
Though certainly, diversity can improve your company’s reputation, that is far from the only benefit companies can get from focusing on diversity. Here is a look at just a few of the ways diversity and inclusion can help to improve your business.
Creativity and New Ideas
One of the most obvious benefits that can come as a result of a diverse workforce is an increase in creativity. With a diverse population comes a variety of different perspectives, an aspect that is essential to fueling creativity and new and innovative ideas.
Businesses can benefit greatly from combining numerous different viewpoints. Ultimately, multiple perspectives mean multiple ways to solve problems, and can help immensely when coming up with effective solutions and better, efficient methods of approaching issues.
Diverse groups of people are inherently creative, bringing with them different cultural backgrounds, socioeconomic circumstances, and various experiences. Though certainly, racial diversity is important, consider other areas of diversity, including gender, sexual orientation, education, and even age. Business leadership and hiring managers should pay attention to these different aspects of diversity when recruiting new talent.
Knowledge of Your Customers
A diverse workforce will also help companies gain perspective when considering their customer base. To best serve your customers, it is important to employ a workforce that reflects the diversity of customers.
This will give your employees and leadership insight into their needs and help to provide products, services, and other solutions that can better serve a diverse customer base. No business would deny that understanding the needs of a broad array of customers makes good financial sense, and could have tangible results for business success.
Not only will diversity foster success in terms of creativity and innovation in the workplace, but those results can also translate into financial success for the business as a whole. According to research conducted by McKinsey, there is a clear relationship between the diversity of a company’s executive team and the strengthening of financial performance over time.
The study included more than 1,000 large companies across 15 different countries. The data suggest that paying attention to diversity should be a top priority for companies if they want to remain competitive and successful in the modern business world. In many cases, it seems that it is particularly important that executives and leadership teams have a diverse makeup.
The more diverse the leadership, the more companies will see a culture of inclusivity, which researchers are pointing to as a key component of business success. It is clear that creating a consistent culture of inclusivity amounts to an important competitive advantage for businesses in our modern environment.
A business with a diverse leadership team and workforce is also more likely to experience a better reputation in the public eye, another aspect that can translate to increased financial success. In fact, a Boston Consulting Group study that observed the impact of diversity in leadership noted that revenues were nearly 19 percent higher for companies employing diverse management teams, probably due to increases in innovation.
Happier, More Comfortable Employees
A culture of inclusivity is an important part of creating an environment where your employees can feel comfortable and safe regardless of their genders, ages, or cultural backgrounds. Employees in a homogeneous workplace may be more likely to keep their differing opinions to themselves in an effort to blend in.
By contrast, a diverse workplace can encourage employees to speak up by making them feel that their thoughts and opinions are not only welcomed and encouraged, but valued and considered an essential part of the business. When employees feel connected and comfortable in the workplace, they will be less fearful of speaking up and taking chances.
The natural consequence of this comfort level is increased innovation and better decision-making. Those diverse opinions and ideas that result from a diverse team working together additionally serve to increase productivity. The creativity that comes from new ideas, solutions, and brainstorming also means that your teams will be inherently more productive.
Focus on Inclusion
The reality is that in today’s diverse landscape, companies simply cannot afford not to focus on creating a diverse and inclusive culture at work. It is crucial for business success to create diverse executive boards and leadership teams, as well as bringing in diverse talent from all walks of life. Employees who feel comfortable and included are the key to successful businesses.