Everyone seems to be talking about workplace diversity these days. The conversation typically focuses on companies not doing enough but rarely does it explore why diversity is important and the positive impact it can have on a business. In this article, we are going to look at 5 reasons why diversity matters and the importance of gender equality.
Excel in the international markets
Companies must now focus on something other than Western markets. Africa, Asia, and the Middle East represent extremely high-value and often untapped markets. However, due to vast cultural differences, it can be very hard for Western companies to successfully enter these markets and sell their products. This is where a diverse workplace can prove a serious advantage.
Let’s say a company wants to start selling products in Nigeria. The easiest way to ensure a smooth entry is to hire a number of Nigerians. These local employees will be able to help a company navigate the complex bureaucracy and legal framework while also illuminating the specific needs Nigerian consumers need help solving.
Hiring locals is not a new concept. However, modern companies have taken this concept a step further by hiring people from diverse backgrounds for roles in the company’s headquarters and filling the ranks of senior management with diverse employees. Companies that are forced to navigate international markets understand just how valuable it is to have diverse staff in decision-making positions.
Break the cycle of poverty
Many people from disadvantaged groups have been stuck in poverty for decades. By hiring people from these communities, they have the opportunity to cause monumental change. A simple, stable, skilled role can help someone from a disadvantaged background provide a much better life for their family.
The great thing about hiring people from disadvantaged backgrounds is companies not only get to make a big impact on local communities but also get to leverage the unique skills and experience of their diverse employees. In this scenario, everyone wins; the company isn’t simply doing charity work, and the employee does not have to feel like they are a token.
Generate new and improved products
If companies really want to meet the needs of their consumers, then they need to hire people from that specific demographic. For example, it is going to be very difficult for middle-aged white men to create products specifically for young black women and vice versa.
Companies that hire from a diverse talent pool can leverage their employees’ unique experiences to improve existing products while exploring different product lines. Their employees can share specific challenges, and then companies can build products that solve these issues.
People from minority backgrounds often represent neglected markets that companies have avoided in the past. Companies can generate significant growth by hiring people from minority backgrounds and then collaborating with them to create products that meet the specific needs of their communities.
People of color often do not feel comfortable applying for roles in companies that are not diverse. If a company lacks diversity they may be missing out on extremely talented people who could help elevate their company.
There are so many talented people from minority backgrounds out there. Companies need to actively recruit these people who often slip through the cracks. One of the most effective ways to recruit people from diverse backgrounds is to have already hired people from similar backgrounds. For example, if you are trying to recruit a gifted black female software engineer and can show her that your company already has black females in senior technical roles, then your chances of successfully recruiting go through the roof.
For too long, firms have focused on recruiting from narrow talent pools. By expanding their traditional recruiting networks, companies can find untapped potential. And once a company gets the ball rolling, it can quickly build a reputation as a safe place for minorities.
Invigorate workplace culture
It is easy for companies to stagnate and become out of touch with their consumers and the market. A great way to ensure a company stays relevant is to hire people that represent the society where the company is based. Companies should not be dominated by certain races or genders. This only leads to companies failing to adapt to the times.
Companies that need a cultural shakeup should be hiring from all backgrounds, young, old, and from a variety of racial and religious backgrounds. You can’t help just to be inspired by coming to work every day and seeing people from all different backgrounds coming together and working towards a common goal. Not to mention all of the different parties who don’t want to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Eid, and Diwali?
By hiring candidates from diverse backgrounds, companies can be flooded with new ideas on how to run the business. It is for a company to become set in its ways, especially when people from similar backgrounds are making all of the decisions. Sometimes all a company needs is some fresh faces to shake things up and kickstart a new period of growth.
Inspire a new generation
There are lots of young people of color and women who dream of pursuing challenging and worthwhile careers only to have their dreams crushed when they realize there is nobody who looks like them working in that field.
Companies can ensure that people from diverse backgrounds feel inspired and confident to pursue their dreams by implementing blind hiring. Blind hiring can remove any unconscious bias and ensure the best candidate gets chosen irrespective of gender, race, or religion. Companies can play a major role in getting people from diverse backgrounds to reach their full potential and push the boundaries of what is possible.
Workplace diversity is an amazing way to unlock new growth, hire incredibly talented staff and have a positive impact on the community. In 2023 there is no reason not to have a diverse staff in all positions in a company ranging from entry-level roles to senior management. Comment below on what positive impacts workplace diversity has had on your company.
Ellen Diamond did her degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. She is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.
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