Diversity in the workplace refers to differences between people who work for a particular company. This can be comprised of race, ethnicity, gender, disability, education, background and much more besides.
Paying attention to diversity at work will feed into how staff perceive themselves and others. A diverse workforce will mean each and every one of them can feel confident they will fulfil their potential. Every person working in the same organisation can bring their experiences together to work to towards a common goal.
Why is Diversity Important in the Workplace?
Many companies realise that customers come from all kinds of different backgrounds. It is important that a workplace reflects that too.
Many businesses are making a big effort to improve levels of diversity amongst staff. But it is not simply a box ticking exercise. Having the experience of a wide range of backgrounds can bring tangible benefits to your bottom line.
So what benefits might a workplace expect from an effective diversity policy?
The Benefit of Different Perspectives
A diverse work force, makes it easier to gain understanding of the different types of people in society in general.
This is invaluable when devising and implementing marketing strategies for your products and services. It can help you understand the different needs of people. This can be useful in the design phase of a product.
The range of insights to be gained can make sales and marketing strategies more tightly focused to target different markets.
Increased Skills & Talent
Companies have also realised that in broadening their recruitment process, they can tap into a new talent pool.
This means the business doesn’t miss out on skills which they might otherwise have done if they’’d adopted a more narrow minded approach to recruitment.
Businesses also realise that a diverse workforce presents a much deeper ‘pool’ of experience and ideas. In the global economy we all work in these days, having a diverse workforce is very beneficial especially when you’re trying to foster business relations with people from overseas.
Perhaps most importantly, companies know of the increased awareness of employee rights with regard to legislation relating to discrimination and equality.
They know they must ensure that their workplace adopts an equal opportunities at work policy for all their workers.
The Challenges of Workplace Diversity
Whilst the benefits of workplace diversity appear unquestionable, it still presents a number of challenges, which need to be overcome.
Communication holds the key here and it’s important to break down any barriers staff may have because of cultural and language differences. You may also have to deal with stereotyping that might be inherent amongst some workers.
For companies to thrive, they must be open to evolution and change. However, for some it’s difficult to accept change in the workplace.
No doubt you’’ll have heard people saying, ““We’’ve always done it this way and it’s always worked before so why change it?” “
That means it’s important to overcome these obstacles. Companies need to educate the workforce change is positive. Avoiding it only prevents the implementation of new ideas and inhibits future progress.
For workplace diversity to succeed, there must be training for all staff and businesses must adopt a policy that permeates throughout the whole of the company, starting in the boardroom and running right the way down to the shop floor.
Diversity isn’t just important in the world of work, childcare settings and schools need to consider it too. Our guide looking at the question of what is inclusive practice explains offers some extra valuable insight.