Diversity: The importance
The importance of diversity in the workplace
Diversity in the workplace is crucial for modern business. It isn’t just a trend or something that businesses need to outwardly appear involved with – but an essential part of corporate life.
Diversity involves creating a truly inclusive environment, where each individual’s differences and unique strengths are appreciated. If you’ve been taking a look at HR advice for small business, the chances are that diversity will have come-up.
Businesses that embrace true diversity in the workplace allow employees to reach their fullest potential, and in turn allow the business to reach its potential. Staff that feel supported and appreciated will be more motivated and productive – and ultimately help to make your business more profitable.
With all these benefits in mind, what is diversity in the workplace and why is it important for your business?
What is diversity in the workplace?
HR advice for small business can be difficult to come by. Many business owners are consequently left to figure-out what true diversity in the workplace means.
In simple terms, diversity in the workplace refers to organisations that actively seek to employ and include a workforce with a wide range of characteristics. Diversity can include a massive array of aspects such as gender, age, race, religion, sexual orientation, education, socio-economic background and more besides.
Getting human resources for small businesses right is an important task. Ideally, your business should reflect and champion the community in which it sits. Just like in our daily lives, when we meet people who are different, we are more likely to be exposed to new ides and new ways of thinking. We may even start to question why we act in a certain way, complete certain tasks or how we interact with others.
This analysis of values and beliefs is vital for any business operating today. It covers not just interpersonal relationships, but business practices too.
Why is diversity in the workplace important?
Diversity in the workplace helps employees break out of a “we always do it this way” mindset. Working alongside people of different ages, cultures and backgrounds prompts the realisation that there are multiple approaches to any task. This is a vital skill in business and avoids what has been termed as “groupthink”.
Groupthink refers to a strong desire to conform, that can lead to staff not speaking-up if they feel something is being done in the wrong way. It leads to uniform thinking and can be extremely damaging – especially to small organisations.
For example, if staff feel they must be unquestioningly loyal to those in charge, this can lead to bad business decisions and poor teamwork. Not only does homogeneity result in poor performance, it also creates a monotonous work environment, further limiting staff morale and creativity.
Aside from the perils of “groupthink” – here are seven reasons why diversity in the workplace is essential for business success.
7 ways diversity in the workplace improves business performance
1. Business innovation
If diversity is made a priority in human resources for small businesses, then you are more likely to have a well-rounded team with complimentary skills to share. This helps your entire business grow, with everyone widening their own experience and learning at the same time. It further means that staff are more likely to collaborate together – a known driver of innovation and new perspectives.
2. Staff productivity
There have been many studies showing that employee engagement and productivity are heightened in diverse, inclusive environments. If staff feel more at ease, and more able to be themselves – their work will improve in turn. Staff productivity is vital for small businesses, so making sure that employees feel included (and therefore more likely to work hard for your organisation) is important.
3. Better decision-making
With greater innovation and the ability to speak-up when things aren’t going right – your team’s ability to problem-solve will be improved. This means that key business decisions can be made quickly with confidence, leading to a competitive advantage.
Research has shown that companies in the top quartile for ethnic and racial diversity in management were 35% more likely to have financial returns above their industry mean – something any business would want.
4. Reduced staff turnover
Human resources for small business can be a time-consuming job. Any business owner will tell you that recruitment and onboarding are expensive and lengthy processes. So keeping staff turnover to a minimum is key. When employees feel accepted and valued, they are more likely to be loyal to your company. What’s more, if problems do arise – staff will feel more comfortable discussing issues, rather than staying silent and leaving a few months down the line.
5. Teamwork and collaboration
Individuals who have regular contact with people from different cultures, age groups and socio-economic backgrounds are more likely to have an open mind. This is a vital quality for business communication, where your team may be dealing with organisations or customers with completely different mindsets. Not only will diversity help these “soft” business skills, it will also improve negotiations and eventual profitability.
6. Brand reputation
Reputation matters. If your company is seen as an inclusive, supportive place to work – talented candidates are more likely to apply for roles and stay. What’s more, investors are also more likely to work with organisations that demonstrate a commitment to corporate social responsibility. So if you’re taking the time to create a truly diverse workplace, let customers and stakeholders know!
7. Consumer awareness
With a diverse workforce, your business will be a better representation of society. This brings greater insight into consumers of all different backgrounds – reducing the risk of cultural insensitivity and PR problems. You want to understand the communities you are selling to after all, so it makes sense to employ and listen to your diverse range of employees.
For any start-up, small or medium sized business – diversity in the workplace matters. With all the benefits it brings, from innovative solutions to staff morale, productivity and heightened societal awareness, diversity is essential for the success of your company.
These factors all impact the ultimate profitability of your business, helping to elevate your organisation to the next level of success. With plenty of HR advice for small business, Bromley Business Hub can help you maximise your businesses’ potential.