Why Diversity Matters in the Workplace

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Workplace diversity is a major concern for employers these days. More and more companies have chief diversity officers who manage entire groups responsible for diversity initiatives. The workplace has become more diverse as it has become more global, with new cultures offering the right talent for organizational growth.

A study by executive search firm Egon Zehnder International shows that the main driver behind diversity-and-inclusion programs is access to talent. Sixty-three percent of senior executives from around the world believe these programs will help them become more competitive by being able to access top talent. Only 21 percent said that public pressure was the reason for the investment.

Companies are starting to use diversity programs to create an open work culture–but they are having trouble measuring success. The aspects of diversity that are most important to employers are gender (73 percent), nationality (44) percent), ethnicity (29 percent) and age (28 percent).

Follwing are four top advantages of workplace diversity:

1. It builds your employer brand.
Having a diverse workplace makes your company more interesting, people can expect to learn more from your employees, and you can attract better talent from around the world. With a diversified workforce, you stand a better chance of attracting different types of people who wouldn’t normally apply for positions at your company. A company with a strong diversity program will have a good reputation, because it will be seen as having fair employment practices.

2. It increases creativity.
Whe you bring together a variety of different people from various backgrounds, you’ll end up getting better solutions to business problems. If you don’t have a diverse workplace, you might not be able to tackle problems in the best way. For instance, if you have no Asian employees and you are trying to sell to the Asian market, it will be much more difficult for you. It is a great advantage to have someone on your staff who is actually part of the culture you wish to focus on.

3. It encourages personal growth.
Employees, especially younger ones, are striving to use their corporate experience to master and grow their careers. This is a major advantage to workplace diversity, because it can help employees learn new ideas, perspectives and connect intellectually and personally to different people. This encourages employees to become more well rounded and have a better sense of the working world.

4. It makes employees think more independently.
If you have similar people at a company, it will be harder to solve complex problems. One study by Katherine Phillips, a professor at Kellogg, shows that adding even one employee from a different background can get people out of their comfort zones and thinking differently about a situation.

Source: Winter 2014 Edition of Hispanic Network Magazine.

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