December 15, 2014 Business Resources

The Benefits of Workplace Diversity

If you’re a business owner or manager, you’re constantly juggling several priorities. One, for sure, is the company’s bottom line. Furthermore, you probably recognize that having a healthy workforce is crucial to a company’s success, and so your employees’ health and wellness are also top of mind.

Did you know that a diverse workforce could also help your business stay on the leading edge? A diverse workplace generally includes men and women, racial and ethnic cultures, various generations, and gay and transgender individuals.

Increased productivity

You might already be considering matters like an ergonomic worksite, employees’ stress levels, and your staff’s emotional and mental well-being as key factors for maximizing efficiency and fostering a healthy work environment. But, a diverse workforce can also increase productivity and competitive advantage, as well as employee morale, which may encourage your staff to work more efficiently and effectively. As well, diversity at the leadership level gives managers tools for introducing new skills and methods to achieve unity within a team.

Diversity among staff leads to more solutions thanks to a flood of new ideas and processes within the organization. After all, as an employer continues to introduce a greater variety of individuals into the workplace, the potential for skilled human capital increases. When you’re recruiting from a diverse pool of candidates, you are increasingly likely to hire a more qualified staff because you are tapping into the best and brightest in the workforce.

Increased creativity

Do your employees need to solve difficult problems? Do they work together toward common goals? Or is your business always looking for new ways to reach your ideal customer? When your staff is comprised of people from varying cultures and backgrounds, they can offer insightful alternatives and solutions. The more ideas you can get from different people with different viewpoints, the more likely you are to find a workable solution to a problem.

Language and cultural awareness

Depending on the type of business you’re in, you’ve probably noticed the continuing growth of the global marketplace. Rare is the business that only does in-person transactions (as opposed to online) or that isn’t aiming to expand into areas outside the U.S. If your company is doing business on an international scale or if you’re working with non-English-speaking populations, it’s helpful to have staff who are able to help you bridge language and cultural gaps. It’s not just about language fluency – to allow your company to compete in the global marketplace, your employees must have an understanding of cultural norms and customs wherever you’re doing business or interacting with customers.

Recruiting a more qualified workforce

Even in today’s economy, job seekers are particular about selecting companies that are known for being great places to work. One way to establish that reputation is to ensure that you’re not practicing employment discrimination based on race, ethnicity, or gender. If you can demonstrate this, both through the company’s appearance during an in-person interview and by word of mouth in the community, you’ll be able to attract the best possible talent and retain existing talent based on employees’ high morale and satisfaction. This, too, can give your company a competitive edge. When each employee feels appreciated and included, it leads to loyalty and a feeling of belonging.

The other benefit is that inclusive workplaces mean lower turnover rates. Often, these employers have fewer problems that make people feel forced to leave. When a business fails to retain qualified employees, then turnover-related costs eat in to the company’s profits. If your company is more inclusive and your employees are satisfied, you will see less turnover and fewer related expenses.

The bottom line

By 2050, a single racial or ethnic majority will cease to exist in the United States. This means that diversity at all levels of your company, starting with management, is crucial to having the expertise and varying experience your business needs to meet the needs of diverse communities who will be your clientele.

See also: Houston Chronicle, NovoResume

Photo by US Department of Agriculture / CC BY

Katie Decker
About the Author

Katie joined CDPHP in 2013 as manager of human capital management (human resources) and assists with employee relations, talent management, and compensation. She gained experience while working on the human resources teams at Harvard University and Time Warner Cable. Katie earned a bachelor’s degree from Bentley University and an MBA from Union College.

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