Workplace diversity is essential to the success of modern businesses. Though meeting the lofty social ideal of a diverse and tolerant workforce is enormously important, having an inclusive workplace also offers a number of tangible advantages to businesses. By curating a diverse and inclusive company culture, your business will have a competitive advantage, in addition to contributing towards making the world a more tolerant place.
Having a workplace that is demographically diverse isn’t enough to truly reap the benefits an inclusive workplace offers. Minority employees must be shown that they are just as valued as other members of your team. Heed the advice of Netflix’s VP of Inclusion Strategy Vernā Myers, who famously said, “Diversity is being invited to the dance. Inclusion is being asked to dance.”
Before going into the benefits of inclusive businesses, let’s briefly cover the kinds of diversity you’ll see in the workplace.
Types of diversity you’ll find in the workplace
The parameters of diversity are always expanding to encompass new areas of the human experience. In addition to race, sexuality, gender, and religion, diversity also includes areas like nonconforming gender identity, age, disability, mental health, and socio-economic status. As the world continues to become more diverse each day, your workplace should strive to reflect modern demographics and sensibilities.
Beyond these attributes, the definition of diversity can be broadened to include various behavioral and personality traits. From qualities like introversion or extroversion to their views on concepts like personal space, an employee’s personality is the culmination of years of life experiences. These experiences are affected by the employee’s upbringing, culture, social network, and personal values.
Inclusion leads to alternate perspectives
The most immediate noticeable benefit of a diverse workplace is that your team will be exposed to a wide variety of new perspectives. Having more variety in the makeup of your team will naturally lead to a broader range of viewpoints and more innovative, out-of-the-box thinking.
Workplaces that are made up of people from mixed backgrounds are more likely to have an expanded set of skills and characteristics, leading to fresh solutions and inventive new ideas. According to industry analyst Josh Bersin, diverse companies are 1.7 times more likely to be innovation leaders in their markets than non-diverse companies.
The alternate perspectives and worldviews of a more diverse workplace can combine into brilliant and unexpected ideas, resulting in innovation that will give your business a massive competitive edge. I can personally vouch for the expanded creativity offered through a global community. At Squadhelp, we work with 200,000 creatives from over 150 different countries when crowdsourcing names for our clients. Tapping into the creativity of the crowd on a global scale is an essential factor in our rapid growth and continually high customer feedback. Synthesizing ideas from creatives of such diverse backgrounds allows us to approach naming in exciting, unprecedented ways. We disrupt the branding industry by using the crowd to produce hundreds, even thousands of high-quality names per project.
Diverse companies have higher engagement and lower turnover
Research conducted by Deloitte has shown that inclusive businesses have higher rates of employee engagement. The simple reality is that environments that are welcoming to people of all backgrounds make employees feel more comfortable overall. Anything in the workplace that can make traditionally underrepresented employees feel uncomfortable or unwanted can have a severe negative impact on their mood, morale, and productivity.
Employees that are engaged and happy are also less likely to leave, leading to lower levels of turnover in diverse companies. By making all employees feel valued and accepted, your business will naturally enjoy higher levels of engagement and retention. Consider a wide variety of backgrounds and life experiences when crafting your company culture to make sure that it’s as inclusive as possible.
Diversity in the workplace is also incredibly important to the engagement of millennial employees, as 83% of those polled stated that they were more engaged when they felt their employers encouraged an inclusive environment. Millennial employees will make up 75% of the workforce by 2025, and they want to feel as if their workplaces are making positive differences in society. Creating a diverse workplace will energize and motivate this passionate generation of innovators.
Inclusivity outperforms homogeneity
In addition to having engaged employees and creative ideas, diverse businesses also consistently outperform their non-inclusive competitors. A study done by the Boston Consulting Group showed that companies with diverse management teams have 19% more revenue due to higher levels of innovation. It doesn’t end there. 43% of businesses with diverse boards reported significantly higher profits, and executive-level teams with high gender diversity were found to be 21% more likely to have increased levels of profitability.
Diversity and inclusion directly translates into revenue for your business. The unmistakable benefits offered by inclusivity are required for modern businesses to stay competitive both in finances and in innovation.
Diverse teams expand the market reach and functionality of your services
Speaking to Marketing Week, Aviva Director of Global Inclusion Jan Gooding stated, “I don’t think any marketing organization is going to succeed in the future if they don’t have a culture in step with a society that is increasingly accepting of diversity. The more diverse your marketing people are, the more emotional intelligence and empathy they will have for different audiences.”
Gooding is 100% correct in that diverse marketing teams have an easier time reaching as wide an audience as possible. They can draw on their mixed assortment of life experiences to speak to previously ignored sections of the market, increasing the scope of your business.
Having a diverse team also contributes towards making your products and services as universally accessible as possible. While designing their services, homogenous teams often unintentionally make decisions that alienate or exclude certain portions of their audience. While this isn’t usually done out of malice, it’s typically the result of a team that lacks divergent perspectives. Twitter co-founder Evan Williams has said that he believes if women had been present on the platform’s original design team, they could’ve made design decisions that would’ve prevented or lowered the amount of harassment women have faced on Twitter since its inception. Modern businesses don’t just have a social obligation to diversify their workplace, they have a functional obligation as well.
In summary, inclusion creates several tangible benefits for your business
The advantages that inclusion can bring your business extend far beyond just positive PR. Diverse workplaces have employees that are more engaged and less likely to quit, as they feel that their life experiences are accepted and validated. Additionally, having teams composed of employees from a wide variety of backgrounds and personalities results in fresh perspectives and higher levels of innovation and creativity. As consumer demographics shift and the market becomes more globalized than ever, make sure your business embraces the rich diversity that makes up our world.