Workforce diversity pertains to the individual characteristics employees have that make them unique such as age, race, gender, cultural and religious background, disabilities, and sexual orientation. However, there’s still much ground to cover in workplaces to make them truly diverse. 75% of employees in underrepresented groups don’t feel they’ve personally benefited from their companies’ diversity programs. There’s obviously a need for business leaders to create inclusive policies that ensure equal and steady growth across employees of different backgrounds.
In turn, organizations that integrate these initiatives will see an increase in creativity, improved performance, and better engagement within their workforce. This is why business leaders are putting more value on a more inclusive workforce as the diversity figures published by LHH demonstrate. For one, 47% say they are making diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) a priority. In the same survey, 53% of larger organizations have displayed a dedication to doing the same. No matter a company’s scale or size, this indicates how widespread these diversity initiatives are and puts forth how urgent this matter is for more business leaders to leverage inclusive talents.
Ultimately, DEI practices can democratize career growth for all employees and mitigate harmful biases that hinder better retention. Read on to learn more about why workforce diversity is crucial to company success in 2022.
It increases your profitability
Businesses with inclusive talent can sharpen and diversify their response in terms of what the market currently needs. This allows companies to gear their services towards underrecognized communities.
To contextualize this, we can look at companies that support DEI initiatives that address the needs of the Black community. One such project is the Fifteen Percent Pledge, which supports Black people in the workplace by evaluating hiring practices and increasing Black representation in marketing campaigns. This pledge also underpins commitment in two ways: for companies to dedicate shelf space to Black-owned businesses and for consumers to buy these products. The same article states that spending power for these companies is projected to grow to $1.8 trillion by 2024. This indicates the group’s capacity to contribute to mainstream businesses. This also reinforces why business leaders should both employ diverse labor practices and champion inclusive causes to increase their engagement and attain greater profitability.
It promotes innovation
Workforce diversity acknowledges varying talent and equips these employees with competencies that can concretize greater innovation within the company. One extraordinary feat this year is how corporate boards have addressed gender parity. In fact, Fortune reports a record of 44 female CEOs at the helm of some of America’s largest corporations in 2022. This indicates the improvements made in terms of considering more diverse candidates.
While this denotes great progress for larger companies, the positive impact of women in leadership positions also extends to smaller enterprises. For example, Heather Landi reports that female-led health tech startups are bringing more awareness to women’s health needs. Some of these startups include Wildflower Health, which offers value-based maternity care that improves the health of mothers and babies, and Homeward, which focuses on improving rural healthcare.
A number of these companies have geared their innovative solutions towards women that may not have been as specific to female experiences. This makes it increasingly relevant for business leaders to employ DEI strategies that can enhance the competencies needed to explore uncharted and underrecognized business ventures.
The workforce is becoming more progressive
Business leaders that promote the renegotiation of workplace norms, and support their employees’ healthy relationships with work, can empower their people to feel accepted and safe. However, this can prove difficult for employees who experience otherness. Employees who may have been underserved because of their identities and backgrounds can benefit greatly from health services that cater to their specific experiences. This is why it’s crucial for business leaders to set health, both physical and mental, initiatives that foster an environment bolstered by trust and understanding.
Fortunately, mental health training has become imperative across all organizational levels. Bernie Wong discusses proactive mental health support in the case of Mind Share Partners’ interactive retreat. In the retreat, they utilized immersive storytelling activities as tools to promote community support and explore how mental health, work, and the LGBTQ+ experience contend with each other. Mental health services such as retreats are important to adapt for business leaders to ensure their employees are empowered to give their best.