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the impact of diversity on business results

Posted by Allison Damerell on Jul 6, 2017 8:30:08 PM

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Diversity: we’ve all heard how important it is in the workplace, how crucial it is in developing strategy, and how we all need to take extra steps to ensure that it’s a major factor in recruitment.

But despite how prolific the data is on the benefits of diversity, a lot of hiring managers still aren’t making diversity inclusion a priority in their hiring strategy. 

For example, a whopping 41% of hiring managers who didn’t enforce measures to ensure hiring diversity say they didn’t do so simply because they were “too busy.” Too busy? Perhaps that’s just another way to say, “we didn’t make it a priority.” 

While diversity may not have been as crucial to maintain an effective workforce in the past, the rising tide of technological progress is changing the nature of many markets at an increasingly higher rate. 

And just as ecosystems with very little biodiversity may collapse by changing a single variable, so too can businesses go the way of the dinosaur if they don’t have the diversity to deal with a constantly evolving world. 

Benefits of Diversity in the Workplace

Building a diverse workplace can provide your business with a host of benefits besides simply filling empty seats. As a female in a leadership position, I work with organizations every day who face these very challenges. Here is some of the advice I offer them. 

  • Greater Creativity: Ensuring your employees have different skills and come from diverse backgrounds means that your business is better equipped for innovation. Whether it’s simply offering an alternate opinion or coming up with a revolutionizing business tactic, the more diverse your workforce is, the more likely they’ll be to think up creative improvements to processes, policies, and your company overall. 
  • Improved Problem Solving: Have you ever had a problem that completely stumped you? Maybe it was an algebra equation in school or a logistics situation at your workplace. And do you remember what it felt like to have your mind jump from possibility to possibility, searching for that perfect solution? That was your creative mind looking at the problem from a different perspective, testing the waters with new ways to view the situation. When your business has a number of diverse minds tackling a single problem, they’re better able to see the situation from multiple angles. And the more angles you have, the better able you are to find a solution to the problem. 
  • Stronger Teams: A good chunk of hiring managers out there think that bringing employees with differing opinions onto their teams will only result in miscommunication, lack of cooperation and a drop in productivity. To put it bluntly, they couldn’t be more wrong.
  • More Reflective Company Image: By building a diverse workforce, you’ll also be catering your company image to better reflect the real world. The more inclusive atmosphere will help to attract talent from a range of diverse backgrounds rather than send them looking elsewhere in fear of isolation.  
  • Better Equipped for Change: We mentioned this before, but it’s such an important feature that it’s worth mentioning again: a more diverse workforce means your company will be better able to adapt to change. From technological trends to outsourcing goldmines, bringing in candidates with a variety of backgrounds, interests, and skills will make it more likely that you’ll be the first to know about potentially market-changing events and ideas.
  • Bigger Talent Pool: Widening your talent requirements to include a variety of aptitudes will not only help your business become more diverse, it’ll also give you a bigger talent pool to dip into.  
  • Multilingual Employees Open Doors: Bilingual employees earn 10% more revenue. Whether it’s opening up your product to a new market, servicing customers who don’t speak English, or simply adding another level of diversity to the workforce, bilingual employees are a great addition to any team.  

And let’s face it, we know that this all adds up to not only a fully inclusive workforce, but positive impacts to your bottom line. 

Why it Matters - Especially Today

As a recruiter, hiring manager, or HR leader, it’s your job to make sure you are bringing on employees that will end up benefiting your company. You scour the job boards, crunch the numbers, conduct the interviews, and make a final decision, all guided by the hope that this candidate is a keeper.

But as employee mobility increases with improving technology, companies have greater access to even more candidates than before, resulting in many businesses zeroing in on a high-demand skill set alone. With the ability to access to potential employees with that perfect skill, it makes sense, right?

The problem comes when your recruitment teams become blinded by this search, ignoring anyone who might in fact be a better fit, just because they don’t have that one in-demand skill. The result: a significant reduction to workforce diversity, leading to lower productivity, creativity, and adaptability.

Take the time to step back and really think about what your company’s stance on a diverse workforce says about its future: evolution or extinction?

Topics: industry insights, workforce planning, diversity