Diversity has become one of the hottest issues in business. There are a lot of movements to promote diversity in the workplace, but changes are not happening quickly enough. There are evidently challenges to face and all stakeholders need to work harder.
That drive for diversity in the workplace, however, is only getting bigger. More companies are committing to diversity in their structures. Workers are helping businesses approach the need for diversity more positively. These changes are only the beginning. There are more reasons to focus on diversity today than ever before.
An Expanded Definition
Diversity is often seen as being related to race or ethnicity, but this limited view is no longer relevant. Today, diversity is as much about ethnicity as it is about gender, beliefs, political views, sexual orientation, and other equally important factors.
The expanded definition of diversity allows businesses to understand the need for diversity in the workplace. In the end, that improved understanding is exactly what pushes more businesses towards a diverse structure and work environment.
As the definition of diversity expands, we are also seeing more approaches being incorporated into efforts to create a diverse work environment. Rather than setting quotas, for example, businesses are more open to reviewing candidates and employees objectively.
The more conventional approach to diversity – which often involves setting quotas and taking in employees for (and only for) the sake of diversity – is being abandoned. Rather than promoting diversity in the workplace, this approach only creates a new set of problems.
As mentioned before, appreciation and objectivity are the ways forward. Businesses are empowered by a corporate culture that appreciates and promotes differences. Being different doesn’t necessarily mean being bad at the job; sometimes, it is the opposite.
It is also worth noting that companies are taking a more hands-on approach to structuring the work environment and leveraging diversity. The creative industry has been doing this for a long time, and the approach is now being adopted by businesses in other industries as well.
Balance and More Benefits
Diversity in the workplace has also gained traction for another specific reason. It is clear that diversity is one of the ingredients that spark better operations and faster growth. Businesses, after all, have their bottom lines as the primary objective of operations, and the fact that diversity leads to improvement to the bottom line makes it even more appealing.
With diversity being a key ingredient to growth, it is interesting to see how it affects the company as a whole. For starters, maintaining diversity means maintaining balance. There is no hidden bias threatening the wellbeing of the company.
Diversity is also good for the core business of the company. It sparks creativity and creates a bigger pool of ideas for the company to draw from. This leads to better product development and a much more holistic understanding of the target customers.
You can clearly see the difference when observing brainstorming sessions. Sessions that include people with diverse backgrounds, points of view and characteristics are more fruitful than sessions that involve only like-minded people.
These benefits culminate in an advantage that every company needs to remain competitive in a fierce market. That competitive advantage is a better decision-making process. Improved decisions lead to a better ability to react to market changes – and to react in the correct way.
The decision to embrace diversity in the workplace needs to come from the top; many companies have made that decision already. We have seen growth in the numbers of female executives and top managers over the last couple of years. Startups and new companies now invite people with different backgrounds to fill key roles in their structures.
There are even diversity training courses designed to help larger corporations benefit from diversity. Some training programs go deep into the strategy of leveraging diversity in the workplace, while other courses are designed to help businesses recruit a diverse group of talent to support their growth.
Diversity training programs are not only designed to help companies meet the standards set by regulations either. Courses such as Managing Diversity & Inclusion offer context and practical application scenarios of diversity as a concept. This key knowledge empowers businesses and allows them to approach diversity in a more proactive way.
Let’s not forget that developing diversity requires support from stakeholders. Associations such as the American Management Association are promoting diversity through various programs, while consumers view diverse companies as being more relatable and more credible.
The possibilities are endless. With every step taken to embrace diversity, businesses amplify the potential benefits they stand to gain from creating a diverse work environment. The further businesses go, the bigger the benefits they can receive as well. More importantly, better understanding and implementation of diversity leads to faster, more sustainable business growth and future innovations. At the end of the day, diversity becomes a crucial ingredient for success.