When some HR professionals hear the word “diversity” they think of another “check box” on the list of compliance items they need to manage. When some C-level executives hear the word “diversity” they think of governmental regulations adding an additional regulatory burden to appease the powers of political correctness. Successful HR professionals and executive leaders know better – that diversity is a pathway to remarkable success and should be treated as such, not as a burden but as a best practice. If you’re in the first group of HR pros or execs, here’s why you should rethink your approach toward diversity in your workforce.
According to Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends 2014 report on Engaging the 21st Century Workforce, leading organizations are “working to build not just a diverse workforce, but inclusive workplaces, enabling them to transform diversity programs from a compliance obligation to a business strategy.” Deloitte cites research showing a direct link between greater innovation and performance among diverse teams than among their more homogeneous counterparts. Teams long on diversity and inclusion seem “to reap the benefits of new ideas, more debate and ultimately, better business decisions” according to researchers.
This makes sense. The United States’ global dominance was built upon the innovative power unleashed by the mixture and interplay of cultures from all over the world. Our “melting pot” should be all the proof anyone needs of the concept of diversity. But beyond the higher performance and innovation levels borne by diversity initiatives, there are other factors which proved diversity is good business.
As the Deloitte report also notes, diverse teams are better at helping their organizations to retain key workers. Good workers stay in situations where they feel a solid sense of inclusion and belonging. Failing to create a diverse environment can mean alienating key employees.
Moreover, having depth of diversity within the workforce provides a wider base of perspectives which can be critical to customer service and satisfaction. Gaining entry into broader markets is more easily achieved when the face of the business is one recognizable to the face of the customer in a new market. Deloitte says, “a diverse workforce creates opportunities to appeal to a more diverse customer base.” And what business doesn’t want more customers with better relationships?
Unfortunately, the report also underscores how much room there is for improvement amongst the business community. There are still many challenges to achieving best practice status in the embrace of diversity programs. A poll of HR executives shows how much more can be done to find success through diversity in the workplace as the following chart illustrates.
Ask your nextSource representative about how your organization can improve its diversity program and begin to reap the benefits that come with it.