When running a business, it’s easy to focus on things that are easy to put a number on. Cash flow, sales and expenses are easy to track, but what about the other things that make up your business? Your employees are your most important resource, they’re the ones who will help you drive your business forward – and how you build your team is crucial. Studies have shown that having a diverse and inclusive workforce is not only important from an ethical point of view, but will help you be more successful. To explain how, here are the top five reasons why diversity can add value for your business:
Diversity enables you to stay ahead of the competition
If everybody was the same the world would be a boring place. Not only would we all look the same, we would think the same – and that’s an issue for creativity and solving problems. However, diversity helps to improve creativity. When there is an increased exposure to employees from different cultures and backgrounds, they provide alternative approaches to a particular topic or challenge. According to the Harvard Business Review, a diverse group of people solves problems quicker than teams of similar people. As a business owner, encourage development of your employees as individuals. Set up diverse teams and promote inclusive decision making.
Greater customer understanding
Whatever your business, you need to understand your customer base and provide a service or product that meets their needs. A workforce from a variety of backgrounds and experiences will have a greater understanding of different points of view. This will help you build rapport with your customers, provide a more personalised service and increase your chances of repeat business. As Lisa Jacobs, our Chief Strategy Officer puts it “Diversity in the workplace is a driver of diversity of thought and challenge: it enables companies to connect with their diverse customers and has been proven to drive superior innovation and financial performance.”
More motivated and loyal staff
Today’s employees aren’t just in it for the pay cheque. They recognise the role of business owners in helping to change attitudes. They want to work for a company that is forward thinking and actively promotes diversity. By nurturing an inclusive workforce, you will create a supportive working culture. Employees will then feel comfortable to express themselves and be innovative in their approaches. A 2013 report by Deloitte found that employees who think their organisation is supportive of diversity made them feel included. Consequently, their ability to innovate increased by 83%. By making diversity a clear priority, you will ultimately gain better results, improve staff retention and have a more motivated workforce.
You will attract more talented candidates
Supporting a diverse environment can also help you with recruitment. If your company or team is entirely male, it can be off-putting for women to apply as they could feel like an outsider. The same goes for all female teams, or any teams with a lack of diversity. Applicants will feel more comfortable when applying for a role knowing that they will be treated equally. The vacancy will therefore attract a larger talent pool and increase your chances of finding the perfect candidate. A 2017 survey by PwC found that 61% of women and 48% of men said they assessed the diversity of the company’s senior leadership team before accepting an offer. Implement inclusion policies and fair employment practices and you’ll be far more likely to attract the best candidates.
Encourages growth in other geographies
Language and cultural differences can be obstacles to expand your client base or to new regions. A diverse, multi-lingual workforce will make the transition easier. Many businesses will rely on the help of translators, but Ciaran McCabe, partner of solicitor’s Moore Blatch believes that “investing in a dedicated service has led to stronger relationships with clients.” Diversity helps you to interact with a broader client base and make your company seem more relatable.