3 Reasons to Champion Diversity in the Workforce

3 Reasons to Champion Diversity in the Workforce

Diverse hiring practices (or lack thereof) have long been in the spotlight. The definition for diversity itself is… quite diverse. In an organisational sense, diversity encompasses gender, ethnicity, age, personality, cognitive style, education, experience and much more. Often simply implementing and communicating a diversity policy makes a big difference by letting people know they are accepted and valued. But committing to a diverse workforce isn’t just something that ticks a box in the social justice column – it has tangible benefits to the way your business operates. Here are three ways that your business can benefit from putting diversity on the priority list.

1. Innovative thinking

When a team is made up of people who all have similar backgrounds, the chances are that they’ll all consider similar solutions to a problem. A team with a wide variety of backgrounds, on the other hand, will bring a wealth of different experiences to bear on the team’s work. That combination of ideas can result in innovation to the benefit of your company. In fact, research shows that more creative ideas result from diverse teams, but not necessarily that the ideas themselves stem from the minority members of that group: simply being exposed to a range of cultural backgrounds and genders can encourage major representatives to think more creatively.  A leadership culture that embraces diversity embodies a “speak-up” culture that allows unorthodox ideas to be heard.

2. Better candidates

Majority of all job seekers say that a diverse workforce is important to them in evaluating job offers. This is especially true for women and ethnic minority groups, but even holds true for more than half of male candidates. Companies that promote employee diversity attract candidates from minority backgrounds who might otherwise be deterred from applying. Furthermore, employees in diverse workforces are more likely to be engaged, crucial to retaining the best talent.

3. Increased profitability

This one’s sure to grab your interest! Studies surrounding diversity in the workplace have found that for every 1% rise in the rate of workforce diversity, there is a corresponding rise of 3 – 9% in sales revenue. Furthermore, companies in the top quartile for ethnic diversity were 30% more likely to have above-average financial returns, and for companies in the top quartile for gender diversity, the figure was 15%.

What do you think?

Hiring for diversity isn’t as simple as making the decision to do so, but making it a focus of your organisation will set you on the right path to a more profitable, innovative and talented workforce. Does your company champion diversity? If so, how have they done so?

This article was written by Tanya Ashworth-Keppel on behalf of the Australian Institute of Business. All opinions are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of AIB. The following sources were used to compile this article: Chron, Entrepreneur, Harvard Business ReviewFujitsu and Talent Innovation.

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