Workplace diversity means many things. Yes, it means compliance with applicable employment law and a zero-tolerance stance toward discrimination. But it also opens a world of opportunity for ownership and management.
Embracing inclusion offers a host of benefits. It helps you attract talent and retain top producers. It improves customer relationships and engages new market sectors. Diversity even pads your bottom line.
1. Diversity Inspires Greater Creativity
What inspires that mystical “a-ha” moment? The millisecond when an idea for a brilliant new product or app comes to mind? How do you foster the ability to recognize these inspirations in your staff members and drive them to bring their visions to fruition?
One theory hinges upon why literary greats like Hemingway created their best work while living in different countries. Researchers studied those who traveled abroad and measured the impact on their levels of creativity. They found that inspiration occurred most often in individuals who fully immersed themselves in a foreign culture, speaking the language and performing tasks as a local would.
Multicultural exposure teaches employees to challenge underlying thought patterns. They develop integrative complexity, the ability to consider multiple points of view simultaneously. This equates to higher levels of innovation in the workplace.
2. Diversity Increases Ownership Attitudes
Staff members who take ownership of their work benefit their organizations’ bottom line. They stay late not to impress higher-ups but because they’re driven to give their all. They know the company only succeeds when all team members play their hardest.
Diverse employees impact successful business outcomes by bringing new ideas to the table. They carefully consider different viewpoints and experiences when considering how new procedures impact the customer base. They understand what people need — and they pull out all the stops to fulfill those desires.
3. Diversity Improves Customer Experience
If you’re a white male in your 50s, do you know how an ad campaign will sound to women in their 20s? All you need to look at is the hilarious ways manufacturers have marketed feminine hygiene products to understand how badly lack of diversity can lead to major flops. You can’t target your audience if you have no idea what it’s like walking around in their skin.
Likewise, say you manufacture tax software. Do you know how frustrated customers who rely on the earned income credit feel when that part of the program suffers a glitch? Or when they struggle to install the software on older devices?
Diversity extends beyond hiring people of different backgrounds and religious faiths. It means engaging the widest customer base, and if no one on your staff understands their reality, you won’t serve them effectively.
4. Diversity Aids in Employee Retention
Replacing an employee who earns $45,000 annually costs $15,000 or 33% of their former salary. That’s only when you factor in the direct costs. High turnover rates also hinder productivity. It’s impossible to build team morale when you never know what players will show up for practice each day.
People remain in positions where they feel wanted and included. Diversity builds inclusivity by creating an atmosphere of mutual support and respect in spite of differences. If your organization adopts a “don’t ask, don’t tell,” stance toward people of different sexual or gender identities, for example, please know certain staff members will surf employment websites in their downtime, awaiting the first opportunity to jump ship for a more supportive environment.
5. Diversity Attracts Top Talent
Likewise, when it’s time to grow your team, you want to hire the best of the best. But if you develop a reputation for hiring only members of a particular demographic, you’re losing out. Job interviews are stressful enough even for top candidates. They’re doubly so when you’re the only person in the room who looks different.
People spend a significant percentage of their lives at work. They want a culture that aligns with their values and makes them feel proud of what they do each day.
6. Diversity Builds Brand Reputation
Marketers have finally realized that to reach the highest percentage of audience members, representation matters. A customer in a wheelchair, for example, is more likely to purchase a product from a company with ads featuring members of the disability community. Consumers, weary from years of images depicting only models who are white and physically perfect, gravitate toward lines who depict real people in their pitches.
7. Increase Revenues
Finally and most importantly, embracing diversity puts more money in your pocket. Racially diverse teams outperform their more homogenous peers by 35%. Teams who prize gender equality earn 41% more revenue than those who cling to outdated stereotypes.
It boggles the mind that the number one reason employers give for not pushing diversity efforts is it takes too much time. You’re in the business of making money — it makes sense to devote resources toward an ideal proven to work.
You Should Prioritize Diversity in Your Business
Diversity improves customer experience and drives innovation. Most importantly, it grows profits. All businesses benefit from increasing efforts toward equal inclusion for all.