To continuously meet and exceed the demands of your customer in today’s society, having a diverse workforce is no longer a luxury - it is a necessity.
Businesses will struggle to thrive and grow if everyone in them thinks and behaves the same way. Having a diverse workforce with people of different ages, gender, race, physical ability, sexual orientation, educational, societal and technological backgrounds opens a wealth of possibilities and helps to encourage creativity, foster innovation and challenge thinking. For example, in 321 large global enterprises with at least $500 million in annual revenue, surveyed in a Forbes study in 2011, 85 percent agreed or strongly agreed that diversity is crucial to fostering innovation in the workplace.
To achieve the real benefits of having a diverse workforce, leaders and managers must design and implement strategies to increase diversity within specific business units (e.g. increasing the number of women in STEM roles), rather than creating a blanket policy which is unlikely to achieve business and financial growth. These strategies must also create an inclusive workplace culture where their diverse workforce is engaged if they wish to obtain the real value of such a workforce and maintain this standard.
The 5 Key Benefits of Workforce Diversity:
Recruitment and retention of employees- The more diverse and inclusive a workplace is, the easier it will be to attract and retain your employees. Statistics show that people are more likely to work for brands that actively support and promote their policies on diversity and inclusion. People want to work somewhere where they feel they can fit in, surrounded by people they can relate to.
Breadth of experience and viewpoints - Decisions and ideas are often better when coming from a group with diverse backgrounds and perspective.
Attract a wider talent pool - If a business wants to increase engagement and retention from any diverse group, the greatest return may be in increasing engagement in the largest such group first – women.
Community engagement, insight, exposure – There is no better way to gain insight and exposure to new and current markets than to have employees that represent these markets and demographics. No business survives without knowing their audience. What better way to understand your audience, how to reach them and increase your market share, then having employees that represent your customer base.
Gain a competitive advantage– By capitalising on all the opportunities presented by breadth of experience, talent, vision and culture that a diverse workforce brings, a business can get ahead of competitors restricted to a narrower spectrum.
In other words, a diverse workforce can only be good for business, as it helps support growth and increases market share.
Not only that, but there is an indisputable moral case that building a fairer and more inclusive workforce where people are valued and embraced for the similarities and differences is important. Every employee should be given the opportunity to develop their skills and talents, gain support and training, as well as be recognised and rewarded for their meaningful contribution.
Business should aim to have strategies in place that go way beyond their legal obligations to diversity and inclusion. It should not just be about meeting targets and quotas. Investing in diversity and inclusion benefits both the employer and employee. It’s time we all took it seriously.