We all live and work in a global economy. With just a few clicks of a mouse, anyone can connect with individuals and businesses from all over the world. This globalization makes us more aware (and hopefully more informed) about the diverse cultures, customs, interests and perspectives that permeate our world. And, better yet, it shows there are many benefits to embracing diversity in the workplace — most of which have direct and/or indirect impacts on a business’s bottom line. From improving client connection to enhancing innovation, the value of a diverse workplace is immeasurable.
That’s why I believe that businesses who embrace diversity are the ones that will enjoy the greatest success. Here’s a few more reasons why:
#1 Businesses that embrace diversity are more creative and innovative. Companies like Apple and Amazon clearly demonstrate that innovation is what separates the “revolutionary” from the “run of the mill.” In diverse work environments, the approach to problem solving and innovation are not mired by homogenous points of view. On the contrary, creativity and critical thinking are expanded due to collective input from individuals with multi-faceted perspectives — all with different thoughts, experiences, motivations and strengths. This depth makes a firm more nimble, adaptable and able to better respond to changing markets.
#2 Businesses that embrace diversity are able to pick from a larger pool of qualified candidates. These businesses are also better at attracting and retaining employees.
With women and minorities entering the workforce in greater numbers during and after WWI, businesses open to diversity were given the opportunity to tap into a larger pool of qualified candidates. This undiscovered talent pool boosted the American economy. It’s 2015 and that hasn’t changed. Hiring diverse employees allows competitive firms to expand outside of the traditional workforce, to the millions of women, minorities, seniors and Veterans in search of work opportunities. Employing individuals from this broader talent pool has a ripple effect or an economic echo™ that resonates to communities typically underrepresented in Corporate America.
#3 Businesses that embrace diversity have a closer connection to clients and consumers. These connections help them win work and increase revenue.
In theory and in practice, workforce diversity is inevitably (but slowly) leading to diversity in C-suites and boardrooms. With more women and minorities actively participating in corporate decision-making, businesses that adopt diversity practices will have an advantage. By demonstrating that you value ALL perspectives and share common interests, you create a closer connection with your client and target market. In an economy driven by supply and demand, this is vital. A business cannot afford to be disconnected from the everyday end user. You must know who the client and end user is and what is important to him or her. When faced with the decision of selecting which business to work with, a client will always choose the firm that best understands them.
These are just a few examples of how diversity adds value to an organization. The great thing is that honoring diversity does NOT mean compromising core values. What many who do not embrace diversity fail to realize is that individuals from all walks of life want the same things… to live and work in an environment where their unique contributions are acknowledged and respected. That’s a core value we can all support.