With competition amongst businesses as strong as well, diversity in the workplace could be the way forward for a company looking to find that competitive edge. A diverse workforce can help foster new ways of thinking and reach out to a wider range of customers, helping grow a business in the process.
Business habits are changing, working patterns are altering and the working population is shifting, so what does this mean for recruiters like us? First and foremost, it’s time to understand how diversity in the workplace is so important nowadays and how it can benefit your clients.
Cultivating different ideas
Organisations can’t thrive and grow if everyone thinks and behaves in a similar way. Having a diverse workforce, from different racial, educational and social backgrounds can open up a range of possibilities for businesses that are looking to encourage creativity and innovation in the workplace. According to a study by the HR Council, 73% of respondents identified ‘enhanced innovation and creativity’ as a benefit that would likely flow from a diverse workforce. Publisher Malcolm Forbes hit the nail on the head, when he stated “diversity is the art of thinking independently together”.
As an individual, can you honestly say that you understand all the needs and requirements of your different colleagues and clients? If you are being honest, the answer is probably no. Having a diverse workforce means a business is far better placed to understand the diverse needs and requirements of a wide range of customers, enabling it to engage and interact more meaningfully with a broader client base.
Not only this, but diversity is in the running to becoming one of the most influential factors when it comes to recruiting and retaining staff. Embedding diversity throughout an organisation also means that talent can be properly recognised and nurtured – wherever it may be.
Conflict inevitably occurs in every workplace environment at some stage or another; however, employees who have the ability to acknowledge others’ differences often also find similarities, reducing the likelihood of disputes between individuals.
Recent statistics indicated that diverse employees are three times more likely to resign than non-diverse workers, because:
- They don’t feel part of the company
- They don’t feel valued
- They don’t feel they have opportunities for promotion
- They feel cultural barriers exist
With diversity becoming a leading influence in conflict resolutions, the ability to resolve workplace quarrels minimises an employer’s potential liabilities associated with employee complaints that could otherwise escalate to formal claims. Workplace diversity is shown to positively influence the quality of employee relationships.
A business’ reputation tends to flourish when they demonstrate their commitment to promoting diversity in the workplace. An organisation known for its ethics, fair employment and wide-ranging employment opportunities is better able to attract a wider pool of qualified candidates.
Other benefits can include customer loyalty, from those individuals and organisations who choose to do business with companies that provide fair opportunities for people from a diverse range of backgrounds.
Frequent interaction with people from different nationalities and backgrounds can help reduce discrimination, prejudice and misunderstandings in the workplace. Taking the time to celebrate a colleague’s culture and holidays can boost team morale and create better employee relationships.
To truly build relationships with people from different backgrounds, we must speak their language. Companies that acquire a diverse workforce will already be one step closer to winning business over their less-diverse competitors, through their ability to interact with potential customers from different backgrounds.
Companies are continually looking to break into new international markets. What better way to engage meaningfully with your new audience than through a workforce who understands and respects their culture and society and can speak the language?
It’s extremely easy for companies to shout about their commitment to diversity in the workplace. It is an entirely different matter as to whether they actually put it into practice. Current statistics from a SHRM report found that 57% of employees think their company should be more diverse. Rightly or wrongly, 40% of those questioned also thought that there is a conscious mind-set within their organisation against hiring women. When discussing diversity, companies tend to forget that a diverse workforce also includes gender, as well as race and ethnicity.
With today’s global economy and multicultural societies, it should be obvious to businesses the opportunities and benefits a diverse workforce can bring. So how diverse is your workplace? Let us know.
Enabling Change offer recruitment training, recruitment development and headhunting training courses to ensure your recruiting business is one that thrives in the new age. To find out more about our courses, contact us on 01264 360 234 today.