Diversity is a keyword in the modern working world. But while most of us will agree an integrated workplace embracing ethnic and cultural differences is good, we may not be aware of exactly how good it is for business.
People of different nationalities and ages often make for more interesting colleagues, but diversity also means bringing more diverse skill sets, professional experiences and sector insights, helping to increase engagement, heighten performances and maximize productivity.
So, an integrated workplace is not just a cool environment to work in; it is also a wise working environment to develop and promote, with genuine benefits to offer organizations willing to invest in one.
We have compiled a list of the 4 most significant benefits.
- Diversity Inspires Greater Innovation
- Diversity Improves Employee Morale And Retention
- Diversity Encourages Engagement
A detailed 2013 study was carried out by the Harvard Business Review and revealed that businesses with what it termed “two-dimensional (2-D) diversity” were better placed to unlock innovation and performed better than competitors.
The study says there are two types of diversity: inherent (traits you are born with: gender, ethnicity etc) and acquired (traits you gain from experience: career, travel etc). To be deemed a 2-D integrated workplace, company leadership had to have at least 3 traits each of inherent and acquired diversity.
The study discovered that companies with a diverse leadership are 45% likelier to experience a market share growth, and 70% likelier to capture a new market. And a team with a member who shares a client’s ethnicity is 152% likelier than another team to understand that client.
It stands to reason that a workplace that enjoys diversity succeeds in attracting a more diverse range of job applicants and in keeping them happier while at work. Perhaps it’s the ‘un-stuffy’ image that it creates, but there is also the more positive mood that raises morale and stimulates colleagues.
A 2014 survey by recruitment website Glassdoor discovered that 66% of job applicants consider diversity when choosing a job. Women and minorities also stated they preferred to be part of a diverse workforce.
When a company has a diverse leadership, especially one that has an acquired diversity, the workplace is more open and inclusive, and develops a collaborative culture where ideas are shared and contributions are listened to.
In fact, when diverse voices are given equal time at meetings, a company is almost twice as likely to uncover value-driving insights as a more authoritarian workplace.
Meanwhile, employees who are encouraged to speak up and vocalize their ideas are 3.5 times as likely to contribute their full innovative potential.
Making a workplace more inclusive is not difficult. Simply:
- ensure everyone is heard
- welcome novel ideas
- give team members decision-making authority
- share credit for success
- give actionable feedback
- implement the feedback given by the team
A workforce that comprises people from a variety of backgrounds, ethnicities, cultures and ages is better positioned to connect to a greater consumer range. In their 2017 report on the Top 50 Companies for Diversity, DiversityInc showed that the best companies for diversity also successfully outperformed the overall market.
These results are complemented by research gathered in McKinsey’s 2017Delivering Through Diversity report, which showed the bottom 25% companies for diversity, with low variety in gender, race and ethnicity, are less likely to net above-average financial returns. The top 25%, however, are 33% more likely to do so.
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