We’ve all seen the paragraphs at the end of job posts talking about how every business “values diversity in the workplace”. Every employer will go on about how equality “means so much to them”, but the question has to be posed, why? Why do businesses place such a focus on bringing diversity into the workplace? Is it to seem fashionable in a time when diversity is very “in”? Are they just afraid to be seen falling behind the social curve?
The truth behind it all is that hiring diverse is more than just fashionable, it’s improving the way teams work. It’s important to recognise all the different parts of diversity too. Diverse means different ages, ethnicities, beliefs, genders, orientations, and abilities. Diverse also means allowing them to embrace and celebrate their differences.
On just a very basic level, building a diverse team makes your business perform better. McKinsey research shows that businesses who embrace diverse values in their hiring are 36% more likely to outperform their competitors. The reasons for this lie in the effect on both colleagues and customers. Members of your team can enjoy a workplace they can thrive in. They feel comfortable in their work and are able to give their all every day. A workforce who are forced to stifle their personalities, or have to hide parts of themselves, will not be able to fully perform in their role.
Customers can also enjoy a business that understands their needs. A business with a team reflective of its customers will be able to properly serve their needs. It’s all about the different ways of looking at a situation. Everyone will look at a problem in their own way, and building a team with different points of view will let your business solve problems in a way your customers will appreciate. Diversity is a fact of life for each and every one of your customers. So why shouldn’t your team and their approach reflect that?
Treating diversity as little more than a gimmick isn’t just bad in spirit, it will affect the way your business functions. Diverse talent will not embed themselves in your team as they should. Your team harmony will suffer as an effect of this as diverse talent feel the effect of a workplace they are not fully safe in. To fully experience the benefits of diversity in your team, you have to commit to diverse values. It’s so much more than just something a business will do for the fun of it. It will positively impact your bottom line and your mood, who wouldn’t love that?
To achieve this, diversity has to become an inherent part of your hiring process. All unconscious bias has to be removed from every decision. Blind CVs have risen in popularity and for good reason. A candidate is judged on their skills and accomplishments alone, rather than their origin, gender, or class. It is also key to remove barriers from your hiring to allow all candidates to properly put themselves forward. Accommodate the people who want to be part of your team, and they will repay you by being the best candidates they possibly can.
Becoming a diverse business might take a little adapting, but the positives are clear to see. It’s not as hard as you might think to bring a team into the 21st century. Whatever reason is used to justify the creation of a diverse team, if it is done with gusto, the effect will be felt far and wide. Hiring diverse is so much more than “just a gimmick”, it’s how you take your team into the future.
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