Another Look at the Benefits of Workforce Diversity

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In 2014, we wrote a series of articles expounding on the benefits of diversity in the workforce. While it may have seemed that we’d made great strides toward achieving a “post-racial” society that lives up to our cultural rhetoric about being a melting pot and a true meritocracy, many would argue there is still much to be done toward the goal of social equity in the workforce and in broader society at large. So, considering this week’s celebration Dr. Martin Luther King Day, we’re examining the benefits of diversity in the workforce as a means to promote its pursuit beyond the tax benefits associated with diversity staffing.

To reiterate what we pointed to in our previous article, more diversity equals a more qualified workforce and reduces turnover. Studies indicate recruiting from diverse pools of talent means a company is more likely to come across the best and brightest workers available. nextSource has found that organizations with a more homogeneous workforce composition experience higher turnover rates than their blended counterparts. Turnover is higher in homogeneous workforces because they can sometimes foster hostile work environments forcing good employees to leave. Having a diverse and discrimination-free work environment means better workers and better environment.

Moreover, diverse workforces reflect an inclusive ethic which helps companies gain greater market share. A company that employs women, LGBT or minority personnel is going to automatically be someplace women, LGBT or other minority customers will feel comfortable frequenting. The spirit of inclusiveness is something demonstrated by actions and intuited by consumers.

Diversity is also good for growing in a global economy. Making inroads into foreign markets is made easier when your workforce intuitively understands the language (both spoken and metaphorically) of the foreign markets the organization is trying to tap into. Ensuring diversity in your workforce is crucial to asserting and maintaining a competitive advantage in the global arena.

More recent data like this report from the University of Florida suggests, “Diversity is beneficial to both associates and employers. Although associates are interdependent in the workplace, respecting individual differences can increase productivity. Diversity in the workplace can reduce lawsuits and increase marketing opportunities, recruitment, creativity, and business image. In an era when flexibility and creativity are keys to competitiveness, diversity is critical for an organization’s success. Also, the consequences (loss of time and money) should not be overlooked.”

The same University of Florida report concludes that workforce diversity is reflective of the world in which a business operates; one that is more connected across the digital divide and more integrated in terms of supply chains, markets and economies. Respect for the diversity of the workforce and the embrace of differences is shown to boost worker productivity and leads to improved competitive advantage. Diversity management benefits workers by creating and enforcing an equitable and safe environment wherein everyone is afforded access to opportunity and personal/professional growth.

Management in organizations utilizing contingent workforce and focused on workforce design should take steps to educate all its employees about diversity and the reasons why it matters. Beyond a focus simply on the regulations and laws governing diversity in the workforce, all contractors and full-time employees alike ought to be enlightened as to why it matters beyond the legal ramifications. For assistance in fielding a diverse workforce and educating your organization about its benefits, reach out to your nextSource representative.

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