Conversations related to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in the workplace have significantly ramped up in recent years. Commitments have been made by organizations and business leaders in mission statements, advertisements, and internal memos. However, too often the promises made have not fully come to fruition.
And that’s cause for concern for several important reasons.
Prioritizing diversity and inclusion in the workplace is not only the right thing to do, it’s increasingly critical to employee recruitment and retention, and research shows it’s good for the bottom line. Leaders who help amplify the different experiences of others are better equipped to foster an authentic and inclusive culture that helps employees and companies grow.
Teams with more diversity across racial, gender, ability, cultural, and educational backgrounds bring a melting pot of ideas to the table creating a more knowledgeable, innovative, and generally more successful environment. Diverse teams are often better equipped to tackle a variety of challenges and connect with a broader cross-section of people.
Following is an overview of some of the many benefits of diversity in the workplace:
VARIETY OF DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES
A diversified workforce includes people with varied backgrounds and life experiences based on a range of categories such as:
Gender and gender identity
Religious and spiritual beliefs
When a group of similar people is put together, they often generate similar ideas, an echo chamber if you will. But on the flip side, when a team is made of employees with different characteristics, backgrounds, and worldviews, they are more likely to bring with them a vast variety of skills and experiences. These varied perspectives can help businesses plan and execute strategies to be more inclusive to a larger audience and customer base.
INCREASED CREATIVITY AND INNOVATION
When diverse groups work together, they bring with them an array of life experiences – whether that be related to their culture, tenure, gender identification, or another aspect of their background – that help them see the world through a unique lens. Consequently, diverse groups can bring fresh and new perspectives, including thoughts and perspectives about the work itself as it pertains to strategy, implementation, internal processes, and so forth.
Companies that take initiative to actively diversify their workforce – from top executives to those on the ground floor – perform better. Because diversity helps cultivate innovation, it helps organizations find unconventional solutions to problems and helps teams generate a larger variety of ideas to pull from.
IMPROVED CULTURAL AWARENESS AND PROFESSIONAL GROWTH
Diverse teams can create culturally and professionally enriching environments where employees are exposed to new skills, outlooks, and approaches to work. Further, team members have the opportunity to learn about one another’s culture and background which can lead to a broader understanding of both the business world and the world at large.
From there the hope is that this exposure can help employees consider perspectives outside of their own experiences as they navigate future projects and challenges in the workplace, creating a more inclusive and culturally considerate workforce.
In addition, having a diverse range of cultures within an organization can help businesses understand and deal with a variety of nuances within the global marketplace. For example, if a company does business with Hong Kong or Mexico, having employees who speak Mandarin or Spanish can be an asset in improving workplace relations. And beyond just knowing the language, having a grasp on the cultures and customs can set your team apart whether it be in future marketing campaigns, on international business trips, or when hosting customers and colleagues from other countries.
BETTER DECISION-MAKING AND PROBLEM-SOLVING OUTCOMES
As noted, diverse teams bring more information and a broader perspective to the table. And when you have more representation at your table, which leads to more informed and improved decision-making and faster problem-solving.
A study from Harvard Business Review found that diverse teams can solve problems faster than cognitively similar people.
BETTER ABILITY TO CONNECT TO A WIDE RANGE OF CUSTOMERS
Diverse teams have varied backgrounds and worldviews that help them connect with consumers from all walks of life. Perspectives gained from life experiences such as navigating the world with a disability, learning English as a second language, serving in the military, or never recognizing yourself in the advertisements you grew up with. As such, diverse teams can help your organization reach and connect with a wider target audience.
When customers see advertisements or branding that they recognize, whether it be people that look like them, talk like them, or cultural references that they immediately recognize – they feel included and consequently relate to your company better.
This increased marketplace awareness can not only improve your brand’s reputation but can also lead to a more expansive client base.
Varied perspectives, increased creativity and innovation, more cultural awareness, faster problem solving and better decision making, reaching a bigger audience – all the benefits listed above – can potentially culminate in increased profits.
There have been several studies by organizations such as McKinsey & Company and the Boston Consulting Group that have found a correlation between companies with diverse teams and increased revenue over those companies with less diversity.
INCREASED EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT AND REDUCED TURNOVER
The relationship between DEI and employee engagement is pretty simple – when employees feel included, and that their ideas and perspectives are valued, they feel more engaged.
Companies that take specific steps to create a more inclusive and diverse workforce often find employees feel more comfortable bringing their whole self to work. Diversity and inclusion in the workplace can help promote a feeling of psychological safety which enables employees to feel comfortable enough to be their true selves and openly share their thoughts, questions, and concerns.
And engagement and inclusion typically help employees feel happier. And when employees are happy, they are more likely to stay with your company for longer.
HOW TO HIRE DIVERSE TEAMS
Committing to hiring diverse teams may require you to re-examine your organization’s recruitment strategy. Here are just a few examples of how organizations can enhance their efforts:
Expand your talent pool to source candidates from various backgrounds
Partner with niche and diversity-driven job boards
Work with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to source diverse talent
Work with veteran advocacy groups to source new talent
Consider “anonymous hiring,” a process in which you remove all identifying information from resumes to reduce unconscious bias in recruiting
Train and educate all hiring managers on avoiding unconscious bias in the interview process
Include diverse team members on your interview panel
HOW 24 SEVEN CAN HELP
As a female-founded recruitment agency, 24 Seven is keenly aware that maintaining a diverse team is both a moral imperative and good for the bottom line in today's increasingly global, multi-ethnic business environment.
Our team of specialized recruiters are committed to expanding the sourcing of our candidates to ensure a diverse talent pool, which includes partnering with advocacy groups, job seekers with disabilities, and veterans.
Contact us today to learn how our recruiters can help you with your full-time and freelance hiring needs.