Workplace Diversity – the Benefits

September 16, 2016
by John Websell

When the term ‘workplace diversity’ is mentioned, most people think only of race or gender. However, in reality, it applies to a vast array of things, including age, background, disability, education, experience, personality, preferred working style, sexual orientation and much more besides.

Unfortunately, society often views this diversity as a threat to our way of life – something that brings unwelcome change and upsets the apple cart. Of course, this is patently wrong in the wider world, but from a business perspective, this mind-set is completely illogical. Companies that resist inclusivity benefit in no way whatsoever, instead actually hindering progress and development.

Aside from the basic fact that everyone has the right to live and work in an environment free from prejudice; able to live their lives in whatever manner they choose within legal limits, discrimination in a professional environment is, quite simply, illegal – no matter the reason. Companies are lawfully obliged to prevent discrimination in any form, ensuring standard levels of equality and opportunities for career progression are met.

The first in a short series of articles discussing the subject, this inaugural post details some of the benefits a diverse workforce can confer on a business as a whole, highlighting the many positive effects diversity can have in the workplace as a whole.

Improved adaptability and understanding

Generally speaking, a more diverse workforce increases a business’s understanding of its industry. This is especially true in a geographical sense, for company’s who deal with national and international clients on a regular basis. In this regard, employing multilingual and multicultural individuals will help you better understand your customer’s needs, as well as improving communication between yourself and the client.

A more inclusive recruitment policy meanwhile, has numerous benefits. For starters, this swells your company’s potential candidate pool, but more importantly, the resulting diversification provides a greater breadth of experience, knowledge, and perspectives on which to draw. In turn, you’ll find your business is more flexible and better able to adapt to change.

Furthermore, with a recognisably diverse working culture, the general public and prospective clients alike are more likely to trust and respect your business, as it implies you have a progressive attitude towards society. Apart from nurturing a positive image, practically speaking, this can convince even more clients to work with you in the future.

Higher employee morale

We all know consistently high morale is a vital component of any successful and productive company; there are many ways to maintain a happy working environment, but did you know companies with a diverse work force often report happier staff? This is due to a combination of factors, but in a nutshell, people tend to feel more comfortable in a nurturing environment: one in which individuals feel their feelings and opinions matter.

To support this, it’s a good idea to run regular training sessions, making staff aware of what is considered acceptable behaviour in a modern, diverse office environment. Not only will this develop relations between individuals, but it will also improve communication between individuals, and amongst teams.

Increased productivity and creativity

It’s already been touched on already, but a more representative work force is integral to the development and success of any business.

A diverse range of employees makes it possible for individuals to learn from each other, developing their skills and knowledge in an atmosphere composed from a variety of attitudes and working styles. It thus becomes more likely an individual will be able to resolve emerging problems on their own, whereas in the past it would have been necessary to consult a colleague, saving time and energy.

Finally, by removing any concerns of prejudice or discrimination, reinforcing the meritocratic nature of your company, encourages employees to feel confident they will be judged fairly. This can have a huge impact on productivity, since an individual is more likely to ‘go the extra mile’ if they know their chances of promotion are the same as everyone else’s. Ultimately, a committed, inspired employee is more valuable than two or three unmotivated ones.

Further information

For more information on anything covered in this article, or advice on how to create an effective equality and workplace diversity policy for your business, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with ABRS Ltd today.

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