Diversity is generally defined as acknowledging, understanding, accepting, valuing, and celebrating differences among people with respect to age, class, ethnicity, gender, physical and mental ability, race, sexual orientation, and religious belief.
In the workplace, diversity is achieved through acknowledging these differences and adapting work practices to create an inclusive environment in such a way that every member of the organization feels valued. This is to say that all members of the community are represented or at least embraced as integral to the success and harmony of the company.
According to Debbi Story, Senior Vice President of Talent Development and Chief Diversity Officer at AT&T, “A diverse & inclusive environment is crucial to retaining the workforce of the future and is critical to meeting the needs of the customers.” She recognizes the need for a diverse pool of talents, regardless of background, to maintain creativity and keep innovations flowing.
Many studies have been dedicated to track the benefits of having diversity in the workplace, as well as encouraging it in every organization. For instance, a Forbes study revealed that inclusion and workforce diversity are great instigators of internal innovation and business growth. According to a study by theHarvard BusinessSchool, multicultural networks promote creativity. Its lead author, Roy Y.J. Chua, said that “The more your network includes individuals from different cultural backgrounds, the more you will be creatively stimulated by different ideas and perspectives.”
Still not convinced? Here are some more advantages of workplace diversity.
- Increased productivity
Diversity and inclusion foster a healthy exchange of fresh and wide-ranging ideas that can be used to advance the company’s goals. It fosters synergy among a pool of talents and will be beneficial in creating strategies to push the company to further success.
- Attract and retain talent
According to an article from Entrepreneur, lack of diversity creates an unintentionally hostile environment for employees who feel like they don’t fit in and could lead to high turnover rates. Similarly, candidates are more willing to apply in a company with a diverse talent pool as this gives them the idea of a dynamic workplace that puts premium on uniqueness and creativity.
- Increases market share and creates a diverse customer base
With a diverse workforce, you would be better able to market to different sectors, having the inputs of various people from different backgrounds and experiences. This is a major plus especially for businesses looking to expand to the global market.
While diversity has tremendous benefits in the workplace, business leaders should integrate trainings and talks to better facilitate the internal organization. Having a diverse workforce has challenges that need to be addressed like communication, implementation of workplace policies, and some employees’ resistance to change. But when managed effectively, a varied talent pool will help your business grow, reach a bigger market, and be more competitive in the industry; thus outweighing the pros over cons.