Diversity in the workplace is becoming a more and more prominent issue in today’s society with organisations having ‘quotas’ in terms of male to female ratios to achieve gender balance. I was having a conversation with a group of male and female friends about this recently and it turned into a somewhat lively discussion about how you shouldn’t just hire females to meet a quota but how you should hire the best person for the job based on qualifications and experience. I 100% agree with that, the best person for the job should get the job not just because of a tick box exercise.
However, the fact remains that diversity in the workplace, not just gender but also people from different cultures, backgrounds, personalities and viewpoints can be extremely beneficial to an organisation for a lot more than just if they are perceived as inclusive or not. Being open to diversity gives you access to a much larger range of talent rather than just the talent that belongs to a particular gender, ethnicity or age bracket. It provides insight into the requirements and motivations of all and even more of your client/customer base rather than just a small part of it.
Businesses are becoming more global. Even within a single country, the opportunity to provide goods and services to diverse ethnic groups is very tangible. There are a multitude of benefits as to why you should have a diverse workforce and here are the top 4 benefits:
More Talent, Skills and Experience
What employer wouldn’t want a more skilled, talented and experienced team? If you hire a variety of employees from various backgrounds etc. you will get a broader range of skillsets and experience which will lead to your employees learning more from each other. It will created a very well-rounded team who can probably handle a lot more than if you hire a carbon copy of the same person.
Access to a Wider Range of Talent
There are brand new positions constantly being created and I can tell you firsthand that there are numerous roles out there which I recruit for that are extremely difficult to fill. However, if diversity was prioritized, you would have access to a much larger pool of candidates which will then result in you finding an outstanding candidate. Diversity also has the added benefit of making your business look attractive to potential customers and employees. When I contact candidates about certain roles, I have so many of them ask me “how culturally diverse is the team?” or “what kind of people is the team made up of?”.
One of the best ways to improve the overall performance of your team is to offer them learning experiences. One of the simplest ways to do this is to recruit and build a diverse team. If your team is diverse, it will be made up of people of different genders, ages, backgrounds and cultures. Everyone on the team will bring with them their own unique experiences to the business that will deviate from the ‘norm’. Last year, Optimum hired someone from the Czech Republic who only learnt English at university but has brought a whole world of new experiences to the team. Alongside his witty and warm personality, he also organised the office to go to a Czech Club to experience what it’s like in his home country. This gives the whole team a chance to see things from a different perspective or consider things that they normally wouldn’t. It gives the team a chance to really learn from each other and integrate this knowledge into the team dynamic.
More Effective Problem Solving and Better Decision Making
Inefficient problem solving can lead to delays in workflow and loss of revenue. Why does this occur? Lack of variety in the workplace. With a non—diverse team, employees only have access to a limited range of experiences and viewpoints. However, if you have a diverse team, employees have access to a wider range of experiences and viewpoints. The team can draw from that knowledge and experiences to create diverse solutions in a shorter time period. When you have more ideas and solutions, the problem-solving process runs much smoother and faster. This in turn, can lead to greater profits. By creating a diverse team you will have more cultural insight. These insights can open many doors for your business that can put you above your competitors. Such as hiring the best talent; expanding into new and unique markets; appealing to new customers. While hiring to meet a quota may not be the right approach, hiring with diversity in mind is always a strong approach to bringing in new talent to your business.
Georgia Narayan – Consultant