There is a natural bias that can occur in hiring since many people tend to employ those who look and act like themselves. But plenty of diversity in the workplace statistics show that companies with diverse employees perform better.
With publicly available data, a January 2018 McKinsey and Company study of 1,007 companies in 12 countries found that “companies in the top-quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 21 percent more likely to outperform on profitability and 27 percent more likely to have superior value creation. The highest-performing companies on both profitability and diversity had more women in line (i.e., typically revenue-generating) roles than in staff roles on their executive teams.”
The same was found with racial diversity: "We found that companies with the most ethnically/culturally diverse executive teams—not only in terms of absolute representation, but also of the variety or mix of ethnicities—are 33 percent more likely to outperform their peers on profitability."
The numbers don’t lie—but how exactly does diversity in the workplace connect to improved performance?
1. Diverse groups bring more points of view in the decision-making process.
When making any decision, diverse groups have less of a chance of getting drawn into groupthink. (That's where everyone agrees with each other's opinions.) They typically examine more data points that can affect the direction the group decision will take.
A diverse group also tends to look more closely at each team member's potential biases that can hurt the overall decision-making process. Diverse teams are more likely to consider the point of view of an outsider more than a homogeneous group might in their discussion. When this happens, the conversation is likely to consider more customer and competitor viewpoints and increase the chances for sustained profit in a changing marketplace.
Recruit and post job openings inside targeted communities accessible through specific business or community organizations.
2. They are more innovative.
Though working with people who think the same way as you do may feel comfortable, it can be your enemy when it comes to innovation.
Hiring team members with a diversity of thought and experiences can help you confront the type of conformity that discourages innovative actions. Having different points of view examining a problem in your organization can produce ideas that will boost the innovation process. Without this process, companies are likely to keep doing what has always made them money in the past, which may not match what they need to do to remain profitable in the future. This is why so many innovative business models come from outside an industry.
3. Language skills can open doors to other business
Only having English-speaking team members can act as a barrier to expanding business to other communities within the U.S. or internationally.
Many customers want to do business with companies that literally speak their language. Hiring employees who speak another language opens the possibility of finding additional clients in other parts of the world, which can increase your company's profit.
How to Support Diversity in the Workplace
Hiring a group of diverse team members may not come organically to your company since, as stated, employers are more likely to hire people who are similar to them. You many need to start a few new processes to start improving your company's diversity.
1. Offer more inclusive benefits and search outside your comfort zones.
If your company does not currently have a diverse team, you need to be proactive to recruit one.
First, measure how diverse your team is and make an effort to hire to fill in any noticeable gaps. Next, add benefits like flexible schedules, religious holiday accommodations and child care to attract a more diverse workforce. Begin to recruit and post job openings inside targeted communities accessible through specific business or community organizations.
Diversity in the workplace continues to grow as the advancement of technology makes it easier to hire employees and work with customers from all over the world, so think about broadening your search beyond your company’s country of origin as well.
2. Promote appreciation of cultural differences.
If you already have a diverse group of employees, you'll want to make sure that your current team understands and appreciates why diversity matters at your company. You can do this by getting small groups of people together to share their stories about their life journey and identities. This can give people an appreciation of where other team members have come from and an understanding of how their colleagues show up at work. These initial conversations can help people understand the need for more diversity in the office.
3. Try individual training.
Workplace conflicts are a given, but one has to be sure there is a commitment to respecting cultural differences. One way to do this is to work with an expert to create new office protocols and lead a cultural sensitivity workshop to address all types of intersections at the office: race/ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic backgrounds and more.
Describe the protocol for handling hypothetical problems so everyone understands how issues will be handled moving forward. Now employees can recognize the signals if things start to go wrong and understand that your company is committed to creating a safe workplace for everyone.
4. Find a common mission.
There is a lot power in bringing people together around a common company mission. Articulate why your company exists and the big contribution it's making in its market. Diverse teams can always rally around a cause if everyone believes in the mission. A group of people working together to reach a common goal—in the end, that's how you promote diversity in the workplace and increase your profit simultaneously.
Read more articles on company culture.
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