From Google to Macy’s, last summer we saw an influx of statements on where organizations stand on diversity, equality, and equity. Now more than ever, companies are focusing on diversity no matter if they’re hiring minimum wage workers or executives.
Harvard Business Review reports that 95% of directors agree that increased diversity is beneficial.
Some companies are readily putting this into practice. For example, Salesforce recently expressed its commitment to diversity by setting the goal of increasing the number of Black employees in its U.S. branches by 50% by 2024. Ring Central — a company recently awarded for its diversity and inclusion efforts — is expanding its university and graduate program by 300% to ensure diversity.
Bringing diversity into the workplace is not a fad. Diversity in race, ethnicity, gender, age, national origin, career path, industry background, disability, and education — both individually and collectively — can drive financial and innovative improvements. It can bring tangible results to your business and improve workplace culture.
- Increased perspectives can help you avoid pitfalls
- Diversity allows for creative problem-solving
- Diverse companies are top earners
- Diversity creates a better workplace culture
- Learning the differences between diversity, equity, and inclusion leads to happier employees
Bringing Diversity into the Workforce: 5 Reasons It Is Important
Diversity and inclusion create a workplace that looks like America. Unfortunately, many companies still have a long way to go. In Google’s 2020 diversity report, less than:
- 6% of employees identified as Black
- 7% of employees identified as Latinx
- 33% of employees identified as female
When more employers recognize the importance of bringing diversity into the workplace, they start looking for opportunities to incorporate diversity and inclusion measures. Here are just five benefits a company can experience by encouraging diversity.
1. Increased Number of Perspectives
You might think that having more perspectives leads to chaos and disagreements. However, multiple perspectives improve workplace planning, productivity, and business strategy.
Assessing a situation from multiple perspectives can help your company avoid pitfalls and ensure further success.
2. Faster Problem-Solving
Cognitive diversity in the workplace is essential for problem-solving. How people think, reason, interpret, and solve problems are often influenced by:
- Socioeconomic status
- Past experiences
Your diverse team will provide equitable solutions. Having multiple perspectives and potential solutions can help your team solve problems faster and in ways that satisfy your customers.
3. Increased Team Creativity
Standing out from similar brands is a problem every company faces. On your own, you can only think of a handful of approaches.
When you have a team made up of people with varying backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives, you will get more solutions. Ask a diverse group the same question, and you will rarely get the same answer. The more options you have, the easier it is to devise a solution to a problem.
4. Diverse Teams Make More Money
A large part of the success of your business is your bottom line. Increased profits are necessary for continued growth.
McKinsey & Company has evaluated the financial benefits of diversity in the workplace three times — in 2014, 2017, and 2019. Their most recent study evaluated over 1000 companies in 12 countries. They found that when a company embraces diversity, they financially outperform the least diverse companies by nearly 50%, a progressive rise since their first study in 2014.
5. Diversity Creates a Better Culture
A recent Deloitte survey of millennials in the workplace found that the generation’s top concerns included diversity and inclusion. The survey also found that when a company addresses those needs, job loyalty rises.
One of the biggest disruptors for any business is employee turnover. Taking time to find, hire, and train new employees is time-consuming, stressful, and expensive. Addressing employee needs and creating an accepting, equitable, and inclusive culture will help prevent a high turnover rate.
Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion — What Do They Mean?
Bringing diversity into the workforce is essential for every business, including specialty, aerospace, and automotive fastener manufacturers and distributors. Equally important are equity and inclusion.
What Is Equity?
Equity is not synonymous with equality. Equality would be offering a single health plan to all your employees without offering options for those with different needs. Equity realizes the various healthcare needs and provides options to bridge the gap, empowering the minority. When it comes to diversity, it’s to your organizations’ benefit to prioritize equity alongside it. From a workplace perspective, it shows you have an understanding of what each employee needs to be successful. All in all, equity ensures:
- Equivalent access to information and resources
- Fair treatment for all
- Parallel opportunities for every qualified employee
What Is Diversity?
Diversity is two-fold: inherent and acquired. Inherent diversity involves traits that an employee is born with, while acquired diversity are those traits gained through life experiences and journey, including:
- Gender identity
- Sexual orientation
- National origin
- Thinking style
- Communication style
- Socioeconomic status
- Military experience
- Cultural fluency
- Foreign language skills
To embrace diversity, your fastener company should affirm employees’ similarities while valuing their differences.
What Is Inclusion?
Inclusion seeks to actively invite or include the participation/contribution of everyone on your team. Believing that each person has value to add will help employees feel accepted and valued, like they are part of the team.
Satisfied employees are more productive and exhibit more company loyalty.
Ultimately, your company’s culture will be one of community instead of divisiveness. Inclusion — like diversity — is essential to the success of your business.
How to Nurture Workplace Diversity
Creating a diverse workplace takes commitment and requires ongoing maintenance. Merely saying you commit to it is not enough. You need to assess and address diversity regularly. Here are some ways to do that.
- Hire or consult with a professional to ensure that your company’s policies on diversity and inclusion are equitable, effective, and accessible.
- Include your company’s diversity and inclusion commitment in every employee handbook revision.
- Provide diversity training opportunities. If you are not comfortable making such training mandatory, consider providing incentives to encourage participation.
- Research what is important to and what motivates each generation. Baby Boomers have different ideals than Millennials. Allowing for and catering to individual needs promote employee satisfaction.
- Ensure policies and company considerations recognize various religious and cultural beliefs. For example, it may not be feasible to include every holiday as an off day, but including a few “flex” days that employees can use at will is considerate.
Bringing Diversity into the Workforce in 2021
Promoting diversity in the workplace may be a hot topic, but for the progression of your workplace it’s a necessity. Employees are demanding diversity, inclusion, and equity from business owners. They want change — a change that is long overdue.
While such change may be new and outside an employer’s current comfort zone, bringing diversity into the workplace has multiple benefits.
We are coming upon a new year, a new beginning. When setting Q1 business goals, make sure bringing diversity into the workplace is one of your top priorities. You will not regret it.
What are some measures and initiatives you’re taking to improve your brand’s culture? Join the conversation on LinkedIn. We’d love to hear from you!