Workplace Diversity — A Closer Look

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Workplace Diversity — Benefits, Challenges and Solutions

Workplace diversity is not merely a goal that organizations should try to achieve. It’s also essential if companies want to keep up with, and surpass, their competitors.

While studies continue to show that companies with inclusive workplaces outperform other companies, many are still lagging when it comes to hiring women and people of diverse cultural backgrounds. While 57% of professional jobs in the U.S. are held by women, only 25% of computer-related jobs are.

It’s certainly worth taking a closer look at diversity in the workplace, including some of its benefits, challenges, solutions, and more.

1. Benefits

As already mentioned, research shows that companies with a diverse workplace fare better in the market than those that aren’t. And there are multiple benefits:

  • A more extensive range of viewpoints

As Caroline Stokes, the founder of FORWARD and an executive headhunter and coach puts it, a team that isn’t diverse ends up with the same ideas — ideas which may not appeal to the “varied audience” that you’re marketing to. A variety of viewpoints provides a larger pool of ideas and experiences.

  • Increased adaptability

Companies with a more diverse workplace have a more significant range and source of solutions regarding service, sourcing, and allocation of services. Those organizations tend to be more flexible in adapting to fluctuating markets and customer demands.

  • A broader service range

An organization with a diverse collection of skills and experience – such as languages and cultural understanding – are better able to provide service to customers on a much larger scale.

  • A larger talent pool

Companies that embrace diversity attract a wider range of candidates and are viewed as more progressive than other organizations. With a wider talent pool, the greater are your chances of finding the most talented individuals for your company.

  • Improved employee performance

Employees who feel comfortable and happy in an environment where inclusivity is important tend to perform better than their counterparts. The higher the team morale, the better your employees will produce.

2. Challenges

Workplace diversity does not come without challenges, including:

  • Communication

Communication is key to any work environment, but especially in a workplace that’s strongly diverse. Policies must be clear and easily understood by all employees, while cultural and language barriers need to be overcome for diversity programs to succeed.

  • Resistance to change

Most organizations will have a handful of employees who have a hard time accepting diversity in the workplace. A “we’ve always done it this way” mentality inhibits new ideas and progress.

  • Managing diversity

A diversity management plan must be created and implemented to generate the kind of culture that’s needed if inclusivity is going to permeate every department and function of an organization.

3. Solutions

  • Inclusion

You’ll ward off resistance in the workplace through inclusion. Make an effort to include every employee possible in the planning and implementing of diversity initiatives in your workplace.

  • Promote diversity in leadership positions

Promoting people of different cultures and backgrounds to your management team shows your employees – and those outside your organization – that you take diversity in the workplace seriously.

  • Develop an attitude of openness

Encourage employees to express their opinions and while creating an environment where each member of the team is valued.

It’s clear that diversity in the workplace is a way to create a better work environment with many benefits – not the least of which is out-performing the competition. There are challenges in developing a diverse workplace, but also a variety of solutions.

 

HR Expertise On Demand — Time to consult a PRO

If you’re interested in learning how to create a more diverse workforce or need help on anything related to talent acquisition for your organization, our PROs are standing by and ready to help. Schedule an appointment today at Mercer PeoplePro .

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