Diversity in the workplace is a hot topic for business owners in recent years, changing from a novel idea to a necessity for success. Diversity comes in many shapes and sizes; differences in age, gender,economic background, race, and cultural differences are just some of the ways your business can focus on representing a diverse workforce.
While not always easy to achieve without dedicated time from your hiring team and management, when done successfully encouraging diversity at your business can actually help you reduce turnover, increase innovation, and help your business grow overall.
Improved Market Share
One of the most crucial parts of having a successful business is understanding your products and services and who your target audience is. Only employing staff from similar backgrounds in the name of ‘culture fit’ limits your understanding of other markets and ways your business could grow and succeed when marketing to these diverse groups.
By hiring employees that come from a wide variety of backgrounds, religions, sexual orientations, genders, age groups and spending habits, you are gaining insight into the market groups you want to learn more about. This allows you to create products and services that are sustainable. for them more effectively and it enhances your chance of capturing a wider market share.
Not surprisingly, an increase in difference of opinions, experiences, and ideas can lead to innovation in your business when a safe space is created to share such ideas. A study by NC State’s business school looked at 3,000 of the largest publicly traded companies and found that those with a diverse workforce were better at developing innovative products and services.
This is especially helpful for those companies working in global markets, which tend to evolve more quickly and compete with other businesses who also hire diverse workforces. It is important to emphasize that your staff must feel that their differences in outlooks are respected and they are encouraged to express these differences to their coworkers to maximize your potential for innovation.
Recruit and Retain Talent
Finding talented workers can be a difficult task for a business, especially as you compete with other jobs that may be able to offer better benefits or pay. One easy way to do this is by hiring diverse employees. A company that embraces diversity is automatically throwing a wider net to applicants of diverse backgrounds, letting a larger audience know they would be welcome and fit into your company culture, increasing the talent pool you will see.
A recent study from Atlassian found that 80% of respondents believed diversity and inclusion to be important in the workplace, and companies like B Corps, who openly are rated on their employee happiness and diversity are highly sought after by top MBA students. Tiffany Jana, CEO of TMI Consulting, a B Corp, stated that, “I can barely keep up with the droves of highly qualified, passionate, values-aligned millennials who want to work for TMI. I no longer search for high-potential staff; they now come tome.” As you bring in a more diverse staff and focus on employee well-being, you will see a positive impact on your reputation as a great place to work.
When it comes to retaining employees, diversity can also help. It does this by communicating to employees that your business is open-minded to different ideas and ways of doing things, which research shows greatly increases employee happiness. When workers feel a sense of autonomy in daily operations, meaning they have a say in their own goals, responsibilities, and creative process, they perform higher, have a better moral, and tend to stay with that business longer.
It also communicates to your workers that you do not practice workplace discrimination, which again increases workplace morale and trust in you as the employer, leading to longer retention rates.
Another benefit of having a diverse staff is an increase in profits. If your employees are helping you improve your market share, increasing the level of innovation at your business, and you are recruiting highly talented workers and are able to retain them, it is easy to also expect an increase in profits for your business. A recent study by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) found that diversity increases the bottom line for companies,especially when that diversity is in the board room.
Of the 1,700 companies surveyed, those companies that reported above-average diversity on their management teams reported 19% higher revenues than those companies with below average leadership diversity, with innovation cited as the reason for increased revenues.
Overall, improving your workplace diversity can help you attract and keep talented employees, increase creativity in your workplace which can help you better understand your markets, and increase the profitability of your business. But despite the overwhelming evidence that diverse workplaces help your business grow, many businesses still struggle to implement changes that are sustainable. Check out this list of easy steps your business can take to make sure your business is successful at encouraging diversity and reaping the benefits.
Sam Casteris is a small business owner and freelance writer operating out of Phoenix, AZ. You can find more of her work on Contently.