HR & Management
Why a diverse workforce is important to business
6 min read
07 February 2018
The media seems to be flooded with talk around gender equality, race or sexual orientation. As the world came together last month to celebrate World Religion Day, we’re once again prompted to think about the importance of embracing a diverse workforce.
They say variety is the spice of life, yet some are still actively shying away from embracing their differences. Diversity is important in all aspects of life, and this is particularly true in the working world. There are a number of reasons why it’s important to garner a diverse workforce and I will address this in more detail, below.
Why you should celebrate diversity
If everyone were the same, the world would be a boring place, and it’s important in business to always be progressing and innovating. Put simply, diversity equals creativity. If everyone on your team was from the same background, of a similar age or gender, they would likely have similar ways of thinking. Which is perfect for autonomy, but not for creativity.
A diverse workforce will bring different ideas and new ways of thinking to the table. They’ll be able to better serve your client or customer base. Members of staff that come from a range of backgrounds will have had different experiences, giving them a greater understanding of different points of views. This can be useful for empathising or problem solving in various situations, offering more tailored support to clients or customers.
What’s more, supporting diversity opens you up to a bigger talent pool. If you are recruiting with a strict set of criteria in mind, you could be losing out on talented candidates. By widening the search and embracing diversity, you could find your perfect recruit.
Not only this, but a diverse workforce can add to your employer brand and company culture. Today’s professionals appreciate diversification and want to work for exciting, forward thinking companies. By creating this kind of workforce, you can attract talented candidates, as well as retain existing members of staff who are glad to be part of an exciting company.
The reality is that everyone has a gender, a race, a sexuality and this year has raised profound questions for all of us as we think about our identity in the workplace.
Four steps to supporting diversity in your business
There are a number of ways to diversify your workforce. Starting from the hiring process, spanning through to your core values, check out our four tips for embracing diversity in your business.
(1) Keep an open mind when hiring
Ensure you keep an open mind when hiring. As mentioned above, you risk shutting yourself off from some great candidates if your search is too narrow. Instead, be willing to meet with people you might not have previously considered. You could even set tasks during your recruitment process to see which potential recruits are most creative. Remember to keep an open mind – you might find your perfect hire!
(2) Create an open and honest culture
Create a culture where staff are always encouraged to be themselves. It’s likely that everyone has a more professional persona when they’re at work, but it’s important that no one feel repressed or like they have to hide. Depending on the nature of your business, you might even allow casual dress, giving staff another opportunity to express themselves and show off who they really are.
(3) Organise team-building exercises
A great way to make sure you’re getting the most from your workforce is to ensure that staff are working as a team. Team building exercises can be a useful tool for employees to get to know one another, and encourage them to celebrate their differences and work better together. These can be fun social activities or perhaps even team brainstorms where everyone can bounce ideas off one another.
(4) Encourage staff to share ideas
No matter what role they play in the business, it’s always great to hear when someone has a new idea. Create a culture of sharing, where employees are encouraged to come forward with any ideas they may have, and where everyone works together as a team to make these ideas a reality. As previously mentioned, diversity will lead to higher levels of creative thinking.
Overall, there are a number of benefits for embracing diversity in your business. From the get-go make it a part of your values and culture, encouraging employees to be themselves, share their ideas and support one another. This will not only help you to attract and recruit, but also retain an innovative and diverse workforce.
Diversity and inclusion is an increasingly hot topic in society at large, but also specifically in business. What’s less clear, when thinking of the issue in relation to the corporate sphere, is what does it really mean?