Blog Post3 Ways a Diverse Workplace Can Positively Impact an Organization
Posted on: February 20, 2017
By Joe Hanel, Managing Director/Co-Founder
Diversity in the workplace has been a hot topic for quite some time. But what does it really mean, and why should employers care? When it comes to workplace diversity, it’s easy to assume that gender and race are the most important considerations. That view, however, is shortsighted.
Employers who look at only those two facets in order to meet a hiring quota aren’t considering the potential benefits of looking at diversity through a broader lens. Gender, race, age, culture, lifestyle, learning style, personality – the right mix of these elements can be the building blocks of a workplace that promotes acceptance, respect and teamwork. As Steven Covey said, “Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.” Valuing these differences in the workplace can yield many positives for an employer.
Here are three ways workplace diversity can strengthen your company:
- Increased creativity and innovation
A recent study conducted by the Harvard Business Review looked at diversity on two levels, inherent diversity (traits we are born with) and acquired diversity (traits we pick up along the way), and studied the effect these can have on innovation.
The study found that companies that take a holistic approach to workplace diversity, employing diverse leaders as well as team members, essentially unlock innovation. By having leaders who respect and consider all voices, these firms develop a speak up culture, where team members are 350 percent more likely to contribute to innovation.
- Increased productivity and performance
Imagine a football team composed entirely of quarterbacks. It’s unlikely that the team would perform well on the field.
Extrapolate that logic to the workplace, and it’s easy to see how a broad range of skills, experiences and backgrounds can be a big boost to productivity. In a global economy, businesses are presented with new challenges regularly. Companies that can pull from broad knowledge and experience pools are simply better equipped to meet challenges and keep business moving.
In addition to increased productivity, statistics show that diverse companies reap benefits related to overall performance. Consider the following:
- As reported in Fortune, Boston-based Quantopian concluded that over a 12-year period, 80 women CEOs achieved equity returns 226 percent higher than the S&P 500.
- Similarly, a study by McKinsey & Co. found that “companies where governing positions are held both by men and by women have higher operating margin and market capitalization in the respective industry.”
- McKinsey research also determined that public companies “in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above national industry medians.” (Forbes)
Winning companies, like winning football teams, build a culture of teamwork and camaraderie. Their people value the unique strengths each team member brings to the fold.
- Positive reputation
Now, perhaps more than ever, a company’s reputation is everything! Companies that embrace diversity are widely respected. In a competitive job market, an organization’s approach to diversity can make it an employer of choice or an employer to avoid. Take a look at some of the companies noted in this CNBC piece. These organizations see that embracing diversity isn’t just the right thing to do – it is a critical factor in brand perception.
True workplace diversity is a key ingredient for business success, regardless of the industry or company size.