We often hear that America is a “melting pot” and that there is strength in our diversity. This same concept has become increasingly popular in the business world as many employers find themselves benefitting from having a diverse workforce that can offer a wide variety of ideas, experiences, and abilities. “Variety” was first described as “the spice of life” back in 1785 by poet William Cowper. Today, many business leaders think of diversity not just as a “spice,” but as an absolutely necessary part of any successful workforce. Here are just a few examples of what we mean.
1.) Improved Reputation and Brand
Companies that promote diversity are usually thought of as being more welcoming and tolerant of people with different points of view. In practice, this creates a culture that minimizes the differences between people and emphasizes the things they have in common. When a company (or an individual, for that matter) is guided by this principle, they become more difficult to hate. Diversity can also broaden the company’s appeal and elevate their brand. The second that a person watching a commercial for a product or service starts to feel like “oh...this is for somebody else...this isn’t for me,” that company has lost a potential client. On the other hand, when a person feels like a commercial is speaking directly to them, or someone like them, they are much more likely to engage. Promoting diversity and making an effort to make a potential client or potential employee feel included can help to broaden the appeal of a company and elevate their brand.
2.) Faster problem-solving
Various studies, including one by the Harvard Business Review, found that diverse teams are often able to solve problems faster than groups in which the members are all similar. Since employees from diverse backgrounds have different experiences and views, they inherently will bring diverse solutions to the table. Having all of those perspectives and solutions to choose from usually proves to be helpful and results in much faster problem-solving.
3.) Increased Creativity
Diversity in the workplace leads to increased creativity. People from diverse backgrounds tend to have different experiences, beliefs, and perspectives. Being exposed to ideas that may be foreign can help to generate new and different ideas that would have otherwise never been considered. According to Josh Bersin research, more diverse companies are 1.7 times more likely to be innovation leaders in their market. This makes sense when you consider that the more diverse and inclusive a company is, the more it has been exposed to different ways of thinking and other worldviews.
4.) Increased profits
Yes, now that I have your full attention, there is evidence that shows that diverse workplaces achieve greater profits. McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm, conducted a research study that included 180 companies in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States. They found out that companies with a more diverse workforce were also consistently among the most profitable. With their increased creativity, faster problem-solving capabilities, the more diverse companies become better able to make good decisions faster than their competitors, giving them a real advantage in the marketplace, which leads to increased profitability.