“Diversity” may seem like just a word thrown around in HR departments. But in truth, it is actually an essential aspect of the success of a business, and the fulfilment of its employees. A workforce made up of those from different races, sexes, cultures, religions, and abilities create a more innovative and creative organization overall.
In fact, research shows that diverse thoughts, experiences, and backgrounds of employees help companies perform better financially– 35% above their industry medians. It also helps all employees feel more valued which should ultimately reduce turnover and save companies money in the long run.
But, don’t take our word for it. Several business executives have spoken in favor of increased diversity. Here are their thoughts on the benefits of diverse workplaces.
- “We will only grasp the staggering potential of our time if we create on-ramps that empower all people to participate, regardless of background, country of origin, religious practice, gender, or color of skin.” – Founder, Chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners Robert F. Smith
- “Inclusivity means not just ‘we’re allowed to be there,’ but we are valued. I’ve always said: smart teams will do amazing things, but truly diverse teams will do impossible things.” – VP and Managing Director of IBM Claudia Brind-Woody
Employees who are welcomed as they are and valued for their unique experiences are much more likely to feel fulfilled in their work and empowered to do their best for their organization. By supporting diverse hiring practices as well as philanthropic efforts aimed at empowering minority students and job candidates, companies are able to show their employees that they are respected and valued while encouraging them to succeed.
Improved customer experience
- “We are building products that people with very diverse backgrounds use, and I think we all want our company makeup to reflect the makeup of the people who use our products.” — COO of Facebook Sheryl Sandberg
A product or service built by a workforce that’s reflective of its users will create a much better customer experience. Diverse employees will be better able to lean on personal experiences and thoughts to create the best product for as many customers as possible. This will help create more loyal customers and successful products.
Boosted employee relations
- “It’s really worthwhile to be open and to share who you are with people if you’re wanting to develop authentic relationships, candid conversations, creativity. All of these things are often born from an environment where people feel like they can be who they are.” – CEO and Co-Founder of Prezi Peter Arvai
By creating a working environment that allows employees to fully be themselves, organizations encourage employees to express their thoughts without fear of professional or personal rejection. This can lead to closer interpersonal relationships, creative collaboration, and better teamwork among employees.
More innovative decision-making
- “A diverse mix of voices leads to better discussions, decisions, and outcomes for everyone.” — CEO of Alphabet, Inc. Sundar Pichai
Businesses built on employee bases that have vast arrays of life experiences will be able to make more informed, creative decisions than those built on those of the same gender, race, culture, and sexuality who likely have similar life learnings. This diversity of thought and improved decision-making will help boost overall productivity and business output.
Despite all of these insights and proven results, diversity in businesses still has a long way to go. In fact, of the Fortune 500 CEOs, 37 are women, and four are black.
So, how do you improve your own organization’s diversity? Experts recommend taking a holistic approach to your organization’s personnel and recruiting practices. Here are some ideas:
- Instil a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination
- Encourage referrals from current employees
- Invite employees to share their thoughts on the current level of diversity
- Remove identifying information on applications, such as age, gender, race
- Offer flexible working hours and family care benefits
- Use a hiring panel instead of individual decisions to avoid bias
As these successful business leaders have said, it’s important for your organization’s long-term progress that you instil a policy of improved workforce diversity. Whether due to better employee engagement, improved product or boosted efficiency. Use these tips or consult with your current employees to get a head start on improved diversity.