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How does Diversity in the Workplace Improve an Organisation?

There’s no question that diversity in the workplace improves a wide range of business outcomes; to cite just a few example benefits, it increases ROI and fosters improved innovation and productivity. Even senior executives often declare strong commitments to corporate diversity and inclusion.

The only real question, then, is how and why increasing diversity enhances the organisation. It’s not just about ticking boxes and filling quotas out of a moral obligation; it’s also about improving the workplace culture and, as a result, the bottom line.

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How would you define a “diverse workforce”?

Upon reading that phrase in speech marks, you might have instantly pictured an employee base varied along with age, gender, race and cultural lines. However, this would be an overly simplistic way of perceiving diversity, which can also be defined by talents, skills and experiences.

This is an important point to raise, and it helps to explain why many people are especially drawn towards working for a company where diversity is prioritised. According to a Glassdoor study mentioned by HubSpot, 67% of people deem diversity crucial when choosing where to work.

There is also evidence that workplaces could naturally diversify as more millennials enter the world of work. This demographic cohort will make up 75% of the world’s workforce by 2025, reports the World Economic Forum – and, in the 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey, 74% of millennials expressed their belief that organisations with an inclusive culture are more innovative.

It all starts with the hiring process

Millennials’ growing influence on the corporate stage, with this group set to occupy most leadership positions over the next decade, is not the only reason to expect equal opportunity policies to be increasingly implemented as a matter of routine when it comes to recruiting new staff.

Remember that, ultimately, each candidate is a diverse candidate in terms of their background, talents and experience – and, naturally, everyone wants to work at a place where they feel genuinely welcomed. Therefore, candidates will take notice if they see that your workplace is truly inclusive.

Furthermore, when your diversity policy succeeds in attracting a broader range of candidates, this will translate into a larger talent pool from which you can recruit. As Undercover Recruiter explains, welcoming diversity can help you to both attract exceptional candidates and keep them.

HubSpot’s D&I Program Manager Melissa Obleada wisely explains that most people “don’t want to stay at a place where they aren’t comfortable. People change jobs for their commute, for their family, but most importantly, for themselves to feel comfortable.”

You can integrate various talents, skills, and experiences

Naturally, each role within your company will come with its own list of requirements. Therefore, you should be careful to match the right people to the right positions. As we have already seen, a diversity and inclusion (D&I) policy can help you to do that.

It can also lead to a wonderful interplay between employees as they help each other and learn from each other. For example, while one employee might have an aptitude for devising groundbreaking creative concepts, that worker could bounce their ideas off their co-workers – one of whom, perhaps, may have the relevant experience to put those ideas into action effectively.

It seems no accident, then, that diverse companies are often more innovative; one Boston Consulting Group study revealed that firms with more diverse management teams clocked up 19% higher revenues as a result of the innovation these teams fostered. This has obvious relevance for tech businesses and start-ups where innovation is especially crucial to success.

How a D&I policy can lead to an impressive end result

When your company culture priorities inclusivity, staff of any background can feel more confident in their abilities and more easily hit their targets. After all, inclusivity is good for morale – and this, in turn, is good for productivity. You will also encourage many different points of view.

Especially importantly, this kind of company culture will encourage people to share those points of view. In groups of employees consisting 90% of men, for example, the few women may fear to speak up out of fear that their ideas would be ridiculed – even, though, paradoxically, these women may, due to their gender, have picked up ideas capable of breaking the deadlock for your firm.

Research suggests that recruiting more women could do much more than simply balance out your workforce’s gender ratio. While the female workforce participation rate is currently, on average, just 39% globally, respondents to a survey by Pew Research Centre deemed women 34% better than men at resolving compromises and 34% likelier to be honest and ethical.

As you diversify your workforce, you should also consider how your workplace’s design might need tweaking to accommodate the new differences. Calling our design company on 020 3944 6917 could enlighten you about the possibilities.