Three Reasons to NOT be Like Google (and to Embrace Diversity in Your Workforce Planning)

According to an AP report on the workforce composition at a Silicon Valley giant, “Google revealed how very white and male its workforce is – just 2 percent of its Googlers are black, 3 percent are Hispanic, and 30 percent are women.”  It is surprising that a company of that size has such negligible diversity among its employees. The AP report goes on to detail the steps Google is making to promote diversity among its labor pool. Google is clearly intent on improving in this regard, which underscores the importance of diversity and should prompt others to ask:

Does our workforce management plan include metrics surrounding the diversity of the contractors engaged in support of your business?  We’re not talking about the diversity status of the staffing suppliers used to source your candidates (although there are certainly benefits to sourcing through MWBE companies).  We’re talking about the actual, ethnic/racial composition of your workforce. Do you know what percentage of your people are white versus Asian, Black, Hispanic, etc?  Is this something you should be tracking? If so, why?  What are the benefits of measuring the diversity of your contingent workforce?

First, let’s make clear, cultivating a racially/ethnically diverse workforce yields significant competitive advantage for those organizations that take the time to consider such things.  So, it is indeed something your workforce management plans ought to monitor and manage. Here are three reasons why; complete with the benefits derived from a proper workforce diversity strategy.

More Diversity = A More Qualified Workforce and Reduced Turnover
In today’s competitive economic environment, talent is critical to driving bottom line results. Studies indicate recruiting from diverse pools of talent means a company is more likely to come across the best and brightest workers available.  The experience of organizations that make diversity a priority speaks for itself and nextSource program managers can attest to this. Moreover, 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. We all know how turnover costs can impact on profitability to say nothing of the chilling effects on sourcing that come with a poor reputation.  Having a diverse and discrimination-free work environment means better workers and better environment.

Diverse Workforces Reflect an Inclusive Ethic Helping a Company Gain Greater Market Share.
If an organization is successful at sourcing workers from different backgrounds and with different life experiences, they will likely be able to successfully translate that ethic into marketing to consumers with different backgrounds and life experiences.  Realistically, a company that employs women, gay/transgender or minority personnel is going to automatically be someplace women, gay/transgender or other minority customers will feel comfortable frequenting.  The spirit of inclusiveness is something demonstrated by actions and intuited by consumers.

A Globalized Economy Demands a Globalized Workforce
More and more, companies are doing business across geographical boundaries.  Making inroads into foreign markets is 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.

There are many other reasons why workforce diversity is important and beneficial to the health and well being of a business. What are some of your perspectives on this subject?  Share in the comments.

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