Diversity in the workplace is always seen as a good thing to employers and employees. However, it is about much more than just hiring those who are from underrepresented groups. It is easy to hire more women or ethnic minorities which will help to increase the overall diversity in the workplace. However, diversity is about increasing people’s participation within businesses not just their presence within a company.
Diversity in the workplace is about thriving and not presence as, although being given a position within a company is great, people want to achieve an equal footing. Creating an environment of equal participation is just as important as employing diverse candidates. It can be easy for companies to alter their hiring practices, but they will find it difficult to retain those new hires if they don’t challenge and change their working environment.
Importance of diversity in the workplace
Diversity in the workplace is important for everyone involved in a business. Having a diverse workforce will help to increase a business’s revenue through a number of activities. Many companies are starting to offer their services and products on a global scale and therefore are wanting to appeal to wider customer base. Having a diverse workforce will help to give businesses a competitive advantage over their rivals. This is because by having diversity in the workplace, there are multiple different opinions and perspectives which are given and there is more of an understanding of different cultures and religions which will help your business to market their services and products.
Not only does diversity in the workplace help with your customer base but it can also help to break down language barriers and increase employee satisfaction. Breaking down language barriers can help your organisation as you will be relatable to a wider audience around the world. Not only this but it will help you to invest in other countries and give you opportunities to make deals with investors who speak another language. It will also give you the opportunity to expand and hire from a more diverse talent pool in the future. Lastly, increasing employee satisfaction will increase retention within your company and it will also help with your hiring process as it will attract more diverse talent to your organisation.
Benefits of diversity in the workplace
There are a few benefits of diversity in the workplace that were mentioned above as they are important to organisations. However, there are several more benefits of diversity in the workplace as listed below.
Drive innovation – Having diversity in the workplace can help drive innovation and inspire creativity within your organisation. Multiple perspectives and different ways of thinking can produce out of the box thinking which can provide you with competitive advantage. Diversity has been shown to help solve problems quicker and meet customer needs in new ways.
Increases productivity and performance – A range of experience and expertise can lead to greater productivity within the workplace. Studies have shown that companies who have diverse teams are both happier and are more productive within the workplace. Diversity in the workplace can also help to create healthy competition which will help them to develop and achieve the best.
Personal and professional development – diversity in the workplace doesn’t just benefit organisations, but employees as well. Being able to learn about different perspectives and traditions from diverse employees can help you to become more valuable as you abandon prejudices. As an employee you will be exposed to new skills and approaches to work along with developing an international network which can help you develop and progress into new careers and opportunities.
Challenges of diversity in the workplace
Although diversity in the workplace is important and provides a company with several benefits, as a company becomes more diverse, they can also be faced with more issues. Therefore, companies need to be aware of any issues that may arise so they can be addressed and prevented.
Acceptance and respect – It’s really important to have respect amongst workers when improving diversity in the workplace. A lack of acceptance of diverse cultures and beliefs can cause conflicts in the workplace which can affect the working environment. However, giving all employees diversity training can help them to understand, respect and accept the differences that they all have.
Generation gaps – Increasing diversity in the workplace can be difficult for older generations as millennials are now making up 75% of the workforce. Other generations may have trouble adapting to changes in the workplace and the culture that a younger generation can bring. From this, social circles may be formed, and some workers may feel isolated from the team. There may also be times when different generations disagree with each other over how things in the organisation should be dealt with. To prevent this issue from happening and to maintain teamwork, you should think about creating an open communication culture, so people feel comfortable voicing their opinions.
Language barriers – It is evident that by boosting diversity in the workplace, there will be some issues when it comes to different languages. Employees and managers may have trouble getting messages across to other colleagues and this can lead to miscommunication and productivity loss. Holding language training for those who are non-native English speakers can help to prevent this from occurring. Also, hiring multilingual or bilingual employees can help to prevent language barriers from happening.