The phrase “diversity and inclusion” has been thrown around quite a bit in the past few years. Business, entertainment and government have all at least given lip service to the idea of furthering diversity and representation in their organizations.
However, what we see in many cases is “slacktivism.” Based on my observations, companies often want diversity that they can display, but they don’t make real changes to the culture or values of their company. Simply put, I believe many organizations are taking a cynical approach and using diversity to check off boxes rather than exploring the real value that it brings.
Running a translation company, I had no choice but to create an incredibly diverse staff from all over the world. It just comes with the territory. This means I have seen firsthand how these various viewpoints and styles can synergize and come together, under careful management, to create something truly greater than its individual parts.
In other terms, there are real tangible benefits to enhancing the diversity of your workforce, and I believe that if more business leaders understood this, we could all take a less cynical approach to the idea and truly make some change in our world.
The Major Benefits Of Diversifying Your Workforce
A diverse workforce is one where a mixture of people are represented across genders, religions, ages, ethnicities, abilities and several other characteristics that might be central to someone’s daily experiences. Let’s explore some of the significant benefits you can gain by fostering a diverse workforce.
Diversity can enhance your overall revenue. Back in 2018, a Boston Consulting Group study found that diverse companies with “above-average diversity on their management teams” produce 19% more innovation revenue. The company surveyed employees at 1,700 organizations from eight different nations. These companies varied in size and the industry they operated in, but they all benefited from having diverse management teams running things. This means that companies looking for more innovation have even more incentive to diversify.
This wasn’t the only report on this matter, either. In 2019, the Wall Street Journal published an article titled “The Business Case for More Diversity,” in which research analysts looked over the S&P 500 companies and found a link between diversity, inclusion and overall performance.
The “how” is a little less well-known, though. The way in which diversity accomplishes better financial reports is likely not due to a single reason. It is likely some combination of innovation, morale improvement, a greater range of skills and perhaps other hard-to-quantify perks.
You can attract and retain talent. Something I see a lot more of from running a translation company is intercompany communications among languages. This tells me that more and more businesses are seeing the value in finding the best global talent over the most easily accessible local talent. Today, it is easier than ever to communicate across language and cultural barriers, and a slight inconvenience is often worth it to work with the best in the world.
Diverse workplaces are also a good selling feature for many employees and can serve to keep them with your organization longer. According to a survey by Glassdoor, 76% of those looking for work see diversity as an essential factor. Right now, workplaces are dealing with something many are referring to as the “Great Resignation.” By enhancing your ability to attract and retain employees, you will be better positioned to handle the challenges of the year to come.
You’ll empower and motivate your employees. This ties a bit into the other points I made here, but I’ve found that a diverse workplace can help motivate your employees to work harder (increasing profits) and stay with your company longer (maintain experience levels and reduce hiring costs). On top of these benefits, a diverse workplace can often enhance the prospects and skills of your employees as well. You are giving your teams the chance to see things in a new way and find new approaches.
People take pride in and prefer to work with a company with a positive social impact. As the manager, you must ensure that a diverse workplace is also an inclusive one and that all members feel free to add their voices. By doing so, you increase the number of viewpoints contributing to and improving the day-to-day lives of your employees.
How To Create An Inclusive And Diverse Workplace
A diverse workplace is more than a collection of various people; it is the resulting culture and spirit that arises from this collection of people. However, this culture needs to be fostered and guided if it is to function correctly. Doing this is a complex task that will depend heavily on the people and industry you are involved in, but there are some steps all companies can take to make people feel more included in the work culture.
Here are examples of the actions some companies take.
• Encourage the creation of networking and support groups for employees.
• Accommodate those with disabilities beyond what is legally required.
• Have programs that allow people time off for various cultural and religious holidays.
• Have flexible work options for new parents.
• Offer training and onboarding materials in multiple languages.
• Create partnerships with other organizations focused on supporting and empowering underrepresented groups.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to creating a culture in which everyone can thrive; it takes time and effort. However, if you succeed, you will have created a more valuable and moral business.