The Advantages of Diversity
Co-workers with diverse backgrounds bring unique experiences and perceptions to the table. This diverse knowledge and skills can strengthen the productivity of the team. It can also assist with responsiveness to changing conditions inside and outside the workplace. Great leaders recognize the value of diversity and how it can make the business stronger.
Since diversity means people bring different and unique strengths and talents when managed properly this can be a huge advantage to an organization. You can complement the strengths of one employee with the weaknesses of another thus making a stronger workforce overall.
Diversity can open up possibilities for new business and/or strengthen relationships you already have. Communication can be more effective but also people tend to feel more comfortable with others who are similar to them. You may find a customer says yes to you because they admire the diversity you have in your organization.
Learning and growth for individuals is enhanced when diversity exists. If we only hang around people who look like us, think like us and act like us we won’t grow in our thinking or learning. Opportunities for learning come from seeing and hearing new perspectives and that only happens when diversity exists.
A culture of acceptance and openness is created by diversity. Nothing breeds judgment than everyone being the same. Then we look around at others who are different and judge them harshly making assumptions about them that in all likelihood are not true.
There isn’t a one-size fits all solution for a company. Not everyone can be the executive, someone has to be content in non-managerial roles. Not every position requires a PhD. Without diversity you have everyone fighting for the same roles and discontent is likely to set in.
So if great leaders know that diversity in their companies is advantageous, what does it actually do to make companies stronger?
How Does This Make Your Company Stronger?
1. Reduced Turnover: There are only a few positions at the top of the org chart and every organization needs people who want to get there, and many who don’t. Someone who has a PhD may accept a position to get experience but they won’t stay if they aren’t challenged sufficiently. The person with a 2 or a 4-year degree may be content much longer. There are many examples where diversity can reduce turnover.
2. More hiring options: Let’s be realistic. If you limit your hiring to people who are exactly the same the pool of applicants narrows. Then you are competing with other companies for these same people which has the potential to push your salary ranges higher.
3. Customer or referral potential expands: There is no guarantee but in my experience people will always make assumptions about other human beings. If you have diversity in your organization a potential customer may have a positive view of you and it’s the factor that has them say yes to you rather than your competitor. Employees who enjoy a diverse culture will refer friends and colleagues…you don’t know when or how diversity can positively impact you.
4. Diversity helps you see options or solutions: Since we all bring different experiences to the table it’s natural to assume that diversity can help us see what we weren’t able to see. That could be a way to develop a new market or a solution to a problem or even a new product or service we develop. We can all be myopic, diversity interrupts this.
5. Fun, creativity, different experiences: I’ve said it in another article but it’s worth repeating. An organization is more creative with diversity. It can be more fun as we explore our differences and learn from one another. We can grow personally and professionally in ways we couldn’t if diversity didn’t exist.
While there are many challenges that come with a diverse workforce the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. You as a leader will grow by learning how to navigate through these challenges and your company will be stronger because of it. History has repeatedly told us that when we have one way of thinking that we are destined to fail. Don’t let this happen to your company, open yourself up to possibility.
Join hundreds of other executives and business owners who have shifted their thinking, and their organizations, from impossible to possible by working with Linda. Schedule a complimentary thirty-minute call today.