Almost every industry has their own unique skills gaps, which make recruiting a constant challenge. However, no matter how often the business benefits for diversity in the workplace have been affirmed and reaffirmed, through both research and experience, there are still so many employers who remain unaware of the real and lasting benefits a diverse workforce can offer.
It makes even less sense when you consider that by increasing the diversity of their workforce these companies will be able to tackle their individual skills gaps more easily, improve their performance, grow their businesses and secure future success.
So, what are the key benefits of diversity in the workplace?
Innovation: innovation is key for all businesses but is an especially important differentiator for many organisations. Innovation improves businesses with new services and products and enables better ways of delivering these services and products.
Larger business have seen the benefits a diverse workforce brings to an organisation for a longer period of time. In a 2011 Forbes study of 321 large global enterprises, with at least $500 million in annual revenue, 85% agreed or strongly agreed that diversity is crucial to fostering innovation in their workforce. Indeed, many believe the more diverse the team, the more ideas are usually put forward and the greater the chance is that you’ll come up with the best possible outcome. On the contrary a workforce that only employs the same sort of person over and over will deliver more of the same old attitudes and solutions to problems again and again and as a consequence you won’t see much innovation.
Improved attraction and retention: you’re more likely to source the most suitable skills and experience if you open yourself to a diverse pool of candidates. In contrast, employers that limit diversity parameters effectively limit the number of candidates they can consider and therefore their ability to fill roles with the very best person for the job.
A diverse workforce also sends a strong message to future candidates that your organisation has a truly inclusive working environment, thus helping you become known as an employer of choice. This can be a very effective differentiator to attracting the best talent and will also have a positive impact on staff retention.
Improved financial performance: many studies, with a particular focus on the impact of improving gender balance, have shown that gender equality can have an impact on the bottom line and help a company realise its full potential. Indeed, a US study by Quantopian, a Boston based trading platform based on crowdsourced algorithms, found that women-led companies in the Fortune 1000 performed three times better than the 500 companies run predominantly by men between 2002 - 2014.
Positive culture: diversity creates an environment and culture where employees can be their authentic self and they know that regardless of gender, age, disability or nationality they can succeed. This in turn leads to them demonstrating their full value and drives a high-performance culture where everyone is given equal opportunity to progress and are rewarded and promoted based on their performance alone.
The workforce wants to participate, put in the work, gain results and prove themselves because they feel respected, valued and rewarded and promoted.