Why is workplace diversity so important?

Written by ATI Editor
Last updated March 2, 2021

Workplace diversity is about creating an inclusive environment, respecting each colleague’s differences, enabling all staff to achieve their full potential and as a result, allowing your business to reach its fullest potential. If you promote inclusivity and encouraging diversity, you are enabling everybody to contribute their unique experiences and feel valued. This can have a positive impact on work, other team members, morale, productivity, and customer experience.

Many organisations and businesses are trying to achieve workplace diversity in some way. Equality and inclusion can improve your reputation as a business and, as a result, it can bring many benefits to your company.

At Aspiring to Include, we are dedicated to supporting employers on their journey to creating an equal and inclusive workforce. For this reason, we have put together a guide on the ten reasons why workplace diversity is important.

10 reasons why workplace diversity is important.

Different perspectives and innovation

Diversity in the workplace ensures a variety of diverse perspectives, as employees will have different characteristics and backgrounds. As a result, staff members will bring different skill sets and experiences into their work. Consequently, employers and employees from a company that has high workplace diversity will benefit from accessing a wide range of perspectives, which is very productive when it comes to planning and executing business strategies. Additionally, a variety of perspectives can also play a role in an employee’s professional learning journey. For instance, a staff member might learn from their colleagues’ past experiences and insights during meetings and brainstorming sessions.

Increased team’s creativity

People with different characteristics and backgrounds can increase overall creativity in the workplace. Businesses and organisations might be missing out on creative ideas if they are made up of people with similar characteristics and think alike. Diversity drives innovation and creativity in every aspect and type of businesses. It creates a better understanding of your customer persona and enables your team to adapt to a variety of situations and challenges. The more diverse your workplace, the more your business will benefit from a wide range of talented candidates, who can lead to higher creativity with their perspectives and views.

Higher Innovation

Diverse teams are more likely to drive innovation that can benefit market growth. Innovation often requires adaptability, which is a quality that diverse staff teams are likely to have. In a diverse workplace, employees are exposed to many worldviews which, combined, tend to increase the chances of innovation within a company. Moreover, research indicates that companies with high levels of investment show strong links between diversity and innovation revenue.

Faster problem-solving

Because of the different points of view of your diverse team, employees can come together and utilise their perspectives to bring a variety of solutions to the table. As a result, your team will make decisions quicker, making for a considerably competitive business. Research from Harvard revealed that diverse teams are able to solve problems quicker than cognitively similar individuals not only because people with different backgrounds bring new information. Additionally, interacting with diverse individuals help employees prepare and anticipate alternative points of views.

Improved decision making

Research indicates that when diverse teams, made up of three or more people, made a business decision, they outperformed cognitively similar teams in decision-making up to 87 per cent of the time. Diverse teams were proved to make decisions faster and benefited from a 60 per cent improvement in decision-making.

A study from Stanford University shows that effective decision-making also increases with higher diversity in a team. Gender-diverse teams were shown to make better business decisions than single-gender teams 73 per cent of the time. Moreover, teams that were geographically diverse were the most successful.

Increased profits

Businesses and organisations with a diverse workforce are more likely to perform better financially. Study shows that the financial services sector, which includes banks, insurance companies and more, are more productive than other sectors because of gender diversity within their teams. However, gender is not the only factor that determines increased profits for a company. Businesses with culturally and ethnically diverse teams are 35 per cent more likely to improve profit in comparison to other teams.

High levels of employee engagement

Workplace diversity causes more engagement and better performance. Understanding, respecting, and valuing differences between people with diverse characteristics bring value to the workplace. Consequently, employees collaborate and engage with each other, which is what brings innovation and productivity. Research shows that when a business is prepared to be flexible and inclusive, fresh ideas and working practices can develop. Your business should be prepared to adapt to change, welcome each employee’s decision and treat the personnel equally.

Reduced employee turnover

Having a diverse team means that your business or organisation is more likely to attract a wider range of customers, owing to a rich source of creativity within your staff team. This results in your personnel feeling valued for the unique contribution they are making to the company. As a result, employees will potentially stay in the organisation for longer. Showing a strong commitment to diversity, equality and inclusion in the workplace is an effective way to send out a clear message to customers, staff, and potential candidates. With a strategic equality and diversity policy in place you will be able to enhance employee satisfaction and, therefore, encourage retention.

Enhanced company reputation

A lack of diversity in your team can be harmful to your business’ reputation. As an employer, you might risk being accused of providing unequal opportunities. Moreover, a less diverse team can perform less well and will communicate in a way that speaks to a limited audience. Here are some ways in which a diverse range of employees can enhance your company’s reputation:

  • During recruitment procedures – your organisation will be more appealing to potential candidates.
  • Maintaining positive relationships with customers – a diverse team can help your business build profitable relationships with stakeholder groups and develop tailored services and products based on individual customers.
  • Building trust – being transparent about your diversity and inclusion policy will help your business appear trustworthy and reliable in the long run.
Improved recruitment

The rise in diversity in the workplace is related to the collaborative and team-based structure of modern organisations. Employers who can recruit and manage a diverse range of employees and candidates have a significant advantage over other businesses.

Team members with different characteristics and background help your business hire more diverse candidates. Therefore, they can find a wider range of talents. Moreover, they can enhance your business’ hiring procedures in many ways, such as reducing unconscious bias, creating inclusive job adverts and engaging in diverse decision making.

A considerable number of businesses are recognising the importance of being socially responsible. As a result, they plan to take steps to become more inclusive. For further information, you can read our guide on creating an inclusive company culture.

What are common diversity issues experienced in the workplace?2021-03-02T14:41:16+00:00

Common diversity issues experienced in the workplace include:

  • Lack of acceptance and respect – this type of conflict might lead to situations of violence.
  • Accommodation of beliefs – Employers might unintentionally discriminate against people with different faiths and beliefs. For instance, a dress code policy can be discriminatory to people of certain religions and backgrounds.
  • Ethnic and cultural differences – individuals might hold prejudice against people with different backgrounds, and this can lead to disputes at work.
  • Gender equality – employers might provide unequal opportunities for men and women regarding recruitment, salary and career opportunities.
  • Physical and mental disability – disabled employees might find it challenging to work due to a lack of reasonable adjustments.
  • Generation gaps – this type of issue can occur when employers are unable to maintain teamwork and collaboration, causing workers from different generations to disagree with how things should be done.
  • Language and communication – language barriers are common in diverse workplaces and this can lead to a lack of productivity and misunderstanding.

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Last Updated: Tuesday March 2 2021
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