Diversity and why it grows your businessDiversity is the act of embracing difference in all areas of human existence. Age, gender and ethnicity, along with sexual orientation, religious belief and disability are all areas in which difference must be embraced. Inclusion and diversity have been doing the rounds on the buzzword circuit for quite some time now. And for good reason. Recent studies have shown that companies that practice inherent diversity are 35% more likely to outperform their competitors. Diversity in the workplace is no longer just a tick in a box; it’s a business necessity. Here we take a look at the benefits businesses see when they prioritise diversity.
DIVERSITY GETS RESPECTDiversity and inclusion foster an environment of tolerance and respect from the shop floor to executive level. With its GenNEXT initiative, cosmetic giant Estee Lauder sets an impressive example. With a policy of “leading from every chair”, the initiative has seen millennial employees represent 70% of the company’s workforce, and they are encouraged to contribute to and help drive the aims of the business. When a company makes diversity a feature of its recruitment, good things happen. The result is a greater balance of opinions, the tempering of extremities and a more rounded approach to business. Conflict will always exist in working teams for any number of reasons. However, it’s dealt with far more effectively in teams where valuing difference is already inherent. Co-workers who respect each other deal with problems swiftly and comprehensively. A little respect really does go a long long way.
A REPUTATION FOR DIVERSITYCompanies who have an ethical, inclusive and diverse approach to business are popular with both their customers and potential employees. They attract an impressive pool of talented candidates and working partners, so the opportunity for growth is never-ending. A cynical person might call diversity great PR but it goes far deeper than this. While diversity and inclusion are not bad PR, they can only happen authentically. Any attempt to pay lip service in today’s ‘global’ age will very quickly be exposed and the repercussions for the business involved will be nothing short of catastrophic.
INNOVATIONA diverse workforce provides a rich tapestry of cultures, philosophies and ideas. Diversity is the very antithesis of the stagnation that plagues many businesses out there. Smart, forward-thinking companies know that diversity is key where the aim is to drive innovation. In an interview with The Telegraph, Laura Hinton, head of people at PwC UK argues that the business case for diversity is clear, because “if we want to deliver value for our clients, we need diverse talent, views and thinking that reflects the society in which we work.” Really that says it all. If you’re still not convinced, a recent survey has shown that when employees feel included and think their company is dedicated to diversity; their innovative capabilities increase by 83%. Seriously, 83%! Think about it, if you’re a member of a massively homogeneous workforce, are you more likely to a) put your head above the parapet and stick out like a sore thumb, or b) conform? The answer is b, because conformity is easier and less intimidating. However, if you’re part of a diverse team, you don’t have to make a choice, because diverse teams are naturally innovative in their approach.
DIVERSITY FOR CUSTOMERSIf your employees are already respecting one another for their differences, imagine how well equipped they are to meet the specific needs of each and every one of your customers. A survey for LinkedIn’s Global Recruiting Trends 2018 showed that 49% of employers focus on diversity to ensure that they excel at representing their customers. We come back to our earlier example. Monica Rastogi, head of corporate and cultural relevance and regional innovation at Estee Lauder, states that the aim of the business is to reach out to customers and meet their needs in an authentic way. Having 50 different shades of the same foundation to reflect the cultural and ethnic differences of its customers is just one example. And it’s driven by a fresh, innovative and diverse team of employees. Thanks to globalisation, your company may well find itself selling to and dealing with customers anywhere in the world. A business that fails to embrace diversity simply will not be able to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse target market, nor will it be able to stay one step ahead of its competitors.
YOUR BOTTOM LINEWhen all is said and done, it pays to be diverse. And here’s why:
- A diverse company is better able to effectively target its customers.
- Diversity helps to ensure happy and productive employees who work hard to meet your business aims.
- When your employees are happy, they’re less likely to leave, leading to higher retention rates. Our previous blog discussed the benefits of employee retention and how it saves both time and money.
- Happy employees are less likely to complain, meaning less work for HR and a reduced likelihood of legal action.