Diversity in the workplace is an important issue for HR leaders and business executives to consider. Developing a diverse workforce can help companies expand their talent pool, introduce a new perspective, and build a strong culture that leads to innovation over time. Here's a closer look at some of the key advantages of a diverse workforce – and what companies can do to support diversity initiatives.
Creating a Positive Culture
According to the Harvard Business Review, one of the most important—yet overlooked—cases for diversity comes from its ability to impact culture. The Harvard Business Review reports that when individuals experience positive emotions, they're more likely to be productive, creative, and have a "big picture" focus. Studies show that diversity contributes to positive feelings and helps workers overcome negative biases that can interfere with a productive workplace.
Expanding the Talent Pool
A study by ManPower found that 38 percent of employers had trouble filling positions in 2015. One issue may be static sourcing techniques and consistently culling through the same talent pool looking for new candidates. Could a focus on diversity help you attract new, highly qualified candidates? For example, consider partnering with a group for women developers when hiring for technical positions or expanding your college recruiting program to historically diverse colleges. Focusing on diversity in the workplace at the sourcing stage can expand your candidate base and the talent that you're able to pull from – which can lead to a richer and more diverse staff.
Increasing Innovation through Diverse Perspectives
Diversity in the workforce can support innovation. People from different countries, fields, and schools have unique insights, skills, and perspectives. Bringing different ideas together can help push your collective innovation forward. New ideas and a fresh way of looking at problems can help companies move beyond traditional solutions and embrace ideas that eliminate roadblocks, open up new markets, and more. Encourage team members from around the organization – regardless of their position or background – to speak up and offer ideas that can help improve the workplace.
Improving Performance through Inclusivity
Inclusivity can take on many dimensions, but committing to diversity in the workforce is one way to show employees that they belong and are valued. Performance is likely to improve when employees feel recognized, valued, appreciated, and part of a team. Look at your company's messaging (including your marketing and career website) to ensure that your brand and positioning is consistent with supporting diversity in the workplace.
Expanding to Global Markets
Another aspect to consider is that diversity in your workforce can give you access to the talent, expertise, and perspective needed to expand into global markets. From language skills to the ability to navigate cultural differences, a diverse workforce can help you lead expansions from within, making it easier to support a consistent company culture and a high level of performance.
Diversity in the workplace can help companies find unique competitive advantages while creating a better environment for their team. Make diversity a priority with your recruiting strategy to better capture the rewards over the long-term.