Workplace diversity is a term that refers to the variety of differences among employees in a workplace, including race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, and cultural background.
What is workplace diversity?
Workplace diversity is the differences and unique characteristics between all individuals in a workplace, including their backgrounds, cultures, beliefs, and experiences.
Workplace diversity helps in creating a diverse workforce where employees with different backgrounds and perspectives can work together towards a common goal.
The different types of diversity in the workplace
Originally, workplace diversity was used to primarily address racial and ethnic diversity. However, the term has been expanded to encompass many other attributes in recent years.
Here is a list of examples:
- Sexual orientation
- Physical (dis)abilities
- Socioeconomic background
- Political beliefs
What is a diverse workforce?
A diverse workforce is made up of people who come from different backgrounds, cultures, and experiences. All individuals bring unique skills, talents, and perspectives to the workplace, which can help companies to better serve their customers and clients.
Additionally, a diverse workforce is more reflective of the society in which we live, which helps promote inclusivity and equality.
Why is diversity in the workplace important?
There are several reasons why diversity in the workplace is important.
Other than breaking down barriers, it helps promote understanding between different groups of people, both within the workplace and in society. But here are more reasons, too.
Learn about more benefits of diversity in the workplace below.
First and foremost, a diverse workforce can bring various perspectives and ideas to the table. This can lead to better decision-making, as employees can consider a variety of viewpoints and potential solutions to problems.
A diverse workforce can also foster creativity, as individuals with different backgrounds are more likely to approach problems in unique ways.
A better understanding of customers
Another important benefit of diversity in the workplace is that it can help businesses better understand and serve their customers and clients in today’s interconnected world.
Having a diverse workforce means providing valuable insights into the needs and preferences of different demographics. It allows companies to tailor their products and services to better meet the needs of a diverse customer base.
Promoting inclusivity and equality
Ethically, workplace diversity is also crucial because it promotes inclusivity. Employees will feel included and welcome regardless of their backgrounds and identities, which helps promote equality and combat discrimination and stereotyping.
Additionally, according to a survey conducted by Glasdoor, more than 3 out of 4 job seekers (76%) said that a diverse workforce is important when they consider a job offer. Moreover, nearly a third of them would not apply to a job at a company that lacks a diverse workforce.
This means diverse workforces can help companies attract top talent and improve retention rates as employees feel valued and respected.
Other than fostering more diverse ideas and greater innovation, another important reason to focus on work diversity is that ethnically-diverse and gender-diverse companies are more profitable.
According to McKinsey research, racially diverse companies are 35% more likely to outperform their less diverse counterparts, and companies with strong women representation are 25% more likely to outperform.
The research also shows that diversity goes beyond race and gender, as the conclusion is that a diverse workforce is a competitive advantage.
In addition, diversity contributes to long-term sustainability and growth as diversity promotes social responsibility and ethical practices.
How to promote workforce diversity
Here is a list of what businesses can do to promote workforce diversity:
- Offer diversity training to employees on the importance of diversity and inclusion. This helps promote understanding and empathy between employees to break down stereotypes.
- Review the hiring practices to ensure they actively seek out a diverse pool of candidates without unconscious bias. For example, use blind hiring practices.
- Celebrate the diversity of the workforce by highlighting employee achievements and contributions. This also helps promote a culture of inclusivity and makes employees feel valued.
- Create a policy that outlines the company’s commitment to promoting diversity and inclusivity in the workplace. Next, ensure that the policy is communicated to all employees and reflected in hiring and promotion practices.