27 Nov The Importance of Diversity in the Workplace
Can you imagine everyone in the office dressing the same, looking the same and sharing the same views? It would be very dull! The fact is, we gravitate towards people that are different because human beings are social creatures. In this post, we’re going to discuss the importance of diversity in the workplace.
What is Diversity in the Workplace?
Diversity in the workplace refers to when a company hires people from a range of backgrounds. While some people think diversity is primarily about cultural identity, it’s an encompassing term with lots of other factors to consider.
As an HR manager, you should always make an effort to hire people with various:
- Sexual Orientations
- Gender Identities
- Political and religious beliefs
When a company practices workplace diversity, it can find the best talent without discriminating against individuals. A McKinsey report shows that a diverse workforce can produce 25% more financial returns.
5 Reasons You Should Support Inclusion and Diversity in the Workplace
There are many reasons why workplace inclusion and diversity are essential. Let’s take a look at them.
Higher Levels of Employee Retention
A hostile work environment is an unproductive one. When people feel comfortable at work, they’re more likely to concentrate on their duties and stay in the role.
Workplace conflicts are a big issue, especially in an office environment. According to the CIPD, 38% of employees report interpersonal problems at work every year.
When you employees know that they’re allowed to be themselves, it reduces the risk of arguments – especially when you have strict rules and regulations on workplace bullying.
Higher Levels of Customer Satisfaction
It’s rare to have a product or service that primarily caters to one demographic. In most cases, you’ll have a broad target audience, and you have to solve each individual’s pain points.
If you have a diverse workforce, they’ll understand the behaviours and needs of your consumers, which means you can provide a more substantial level of customer service.
Improve Your Social Image
Companies around the world understand that consumers want to buy from brands that focus on social issues and work to improve the world. When you hire employees from a variety of backgrounds, you can improve your cultural image.
It’s also essential to mention that the LGBTQ community is central to changing attitudes. Over the last 20 years, gay rights have progressed, and whether you’re a B2C or B2B company, your consumers expect to see that you have a no-tolerance policy when it comes to homophobia.
Imagine if a traditional office environment consisted of only white males. They’d collaborate on ideas, but would they be able to resonate with the female audience or individuals of different races? Probably not.
It’s interesting to look at adverts created in the 1950s because office culture back then consisted of white men. When you see these ads, it’s clear that while they’re relevant for the social limitations placed on women and non-caucasian people, they’re not likely to resonate with them.
But what if marketers back then actually listened to women and put themselves in front of a female perspective? The results would be very different.
When you speak to people from a variety of backgrounds, you can separate yourself from your preconceptions and focus on the audience. It also means your workforce can come up with creative ideas based on their interests and culture that you might not be aware of.
Improved Leverage in the Boardroom
The New York Times published an article recently that stated there are more men named John running companies than there are women. While women in the workplace have taken considerable strides in reaching equality, there’s still a way to go.
Forward-thinking companies understand how important it is to not only include women in the workplace but make sure they have the same opportunities as their male counterparts.
There was a time when men ran large companies and women served as secretaries, but the businesses that do recognise female talent can improve their brand identity.
It’s also an excellent way to show your clients that you practice and appreciate inclusion in the workplace. When people see a forward-thinking company, they’re more likely to put their trust in your services or products to build their business.
According to Glassdoor, 67% of job seekers regard the companies diversity policy before deciding if it’s the right environment for them.
Knowing why diversity in the workplace is essential, is very different to ensuring you implement inclusion and equality procedures. Next, we’ll look at how you can create a diverse environment for your employees.
How to Promote Diversity in the Workplace
Promoting diversity in the workplace can be a tricky job, but if you follow the steps below, you can not only create an inclusive work environment but involve your workforce in the process.
Train Yourself & Others
Discrimination isn’t always blatant, and many people might not even think they’re prejudiced. The environments in which we grow up can impact our cultural views and how we behave. But noticing discrimination is an important step to ensuring it doesn’t happen.
One of the most important things you can do is educate yourself and see if you hold any preconceptions about specific cultural groups or individuals of different orientations. Once you understand how easy it is to discriminate against others, you can implement a training programme.
Implement a Mentor Scheme
Joining a new company is always a nerve-racking experience, but it can be made easier by introducing a mentoring scheme. When new employees begin their job, they should have the support of another team member to learn the ropes and fit in with the culture.
You can offer your team rewards for behaving appropriately towards new team members and involvement in a mentoring scheme allows people to advance their careers.
Set Rules & Regulations In Place
If your current policies are outdated, then it’s best to create a new set of rules and regulations surrounding discrimination. It’s also important to remember that a diverse workplace isn’t just about gender, race and orientation.
For example, if you have parents working for you, then they might require a flexible schedule. School pickups, drop-offs and childcare commitments can impact employee productivity. Still, if you introduce remote and flexible working policies, you allow your team to balance their work and personal lives.
Get People Talking
If you operate within an office, then it’s likely that people sit within their teams or friendship groups. But if you mix people and get them talking, they’re more likely to learn how important diversity in the workplace is.
You can also make sure you celebrate a variety of holidays instead of just Christmas. Have parties for gay pride and recognise festivals from other religions. Your employees will appreciate it, and it gives them a chance to learn about other people.
Let People Know You’re Serious
It’s one thing to tell people about your policies, but you should let people know you’re serious and make a stand. Involve your team in making sure everyone treats each other as equals and allow your employees to elect people to lead your discrimination task force.
As a manager, you might not always be around to see potential conflicts or cases of bullying in the office. But by giving your team a critical responsibility, they’re more likely to make sure their co-workers adhere to the rules.
Never Get Too Comfortable
The attitudes of people change all the time, and it’s not always positive. If you get too comfortable with your policies, you might overlook essential issues of workplace bullying or exclusion.
Monitor your team and make sure they have an outlet to discuss their worries. Understandably, you might not have the time to do this, but you can speed up your operations with HR management software and make more time for individual meetings.
Consistency is the key to creating an inclusive workplace. When people feel valued as individuals, they’re more likely to dedicate themselves to the role. If you take small steps to make each member of your team feel part of an extended family, you’ll be rewarded in the clients you attract and the appreciation from your employees.
There’s no question about the importance of diversity in the workplace, so define yourself as an inclusive employer and enjoy the steady stream of talent you’ll attract.