Most of us can probably define the word diversity, but do we know what it truly means to implement it in our companies, classrooms and relationships? Business diversity has a lot of big talk around it and in the past, some companies have gotten major bonuses for having people of color as employees. But is this where the line of diversity ends? Including diversity in your business can look like different talents, ages, religions, education, colors, genders, workflow and more.
Here are a few things you should consider when trying to make your company more diverse and what it can truly do for you and your employees.
Embrace Different Perspectives
Diversity doesn’t just apply to color or race. Diversity is a concept of ideas, backgrounds and values. Including people in your company who do not fit the cookie cutter shape of what you think your business should look like, can actually improve the image of your company.
Including diversity involves the process of celebrating differences. Encouraging your employees to share ideas, go outside of their comfort zone and learn from each other is including diversity in your company.
If you have a variety of different ages in your business, one employee may know a lot about social media, while another knows how to sell. Working together and teaching each other helps improve morale in the company and can help boost sales.
Diversity itself does not automatically produce sales, but reshaping the power structure and the voices that get heard the most can impact your company in a big way.
Learn From Other Successful Companies
If you are looking for examples on how your company could improve diversity, there are some major companies that have learned to incorporate diversity in their team. These companies that are highly ranked for being diverse include Sodexo, MasterCard, Johnson and Johnson and Lenovo.
Sodexo places the highest priority on gender equality and it has paid off. The 2020 Bloomberg Gender Equality Index included Sodexo that shows the great financial performance in companies that are committed to gender equality. Women make up 37% of Sodexo’s executive committee and 60% of its board or directors.
Johnson and Johnson aims “to maximize the global power of diversity and inclusion to drive superior business results and sustainable competitive advantage.” The company makes a point to incorporate diverse voices throughout their company and concept meetings. They are also a founding member of the Unstereotype Alliance which works to tackle gender imbalance in advertising.
At WasatchACTION Coach, we believe that one of the keys to a winning team is involvement and inclusion. If your team is allowed to contribute something to the team and the company, they are more likely to feel like they belong. There are more tips to a winning team, but making people feel seen and heard can help propel your business forward.
There are many aspects and areas of diversity. Research has shown that companies that implement more diverse practices experience more sales, more customer retention and higher profits. There are dimensions to diversity that you should keep in mind when running your business.
Internal diversity is what a person is born with and cannot change such as race, ethnicity and age.
External diversity includes things that people are not born with but can be heavily controlled by the individual, such as interests, education, appearance or citizenship.
Organizational diversity is related to the place of employment and includes job function, work location and seniority status.
World view diversity relates to anything that we experience or observe in the world around us. This can be pop culture, peer reaction, politics or world events.
The Risks Of A Non-Diverse Workforce
Harvard Business Review talks about the limited capacity of innovation and continuous improvement unless all employees are fully participating. But if a company is only focused on the financial gain of diversity, traditionally underrepresented employees will see that they are only worth hiring because they increase the money in the higher ups pockets.
Putting off including diversity can unintentionally create a hostile environment and contribute to low employee retention. When employees feel like they do not fit in, they are not likely to stick around. This hurts your business because you are constantly pivoting to fill those openings and your other employees may not rate your business well either.
The World Economic Forum said “Women will ask more questions without the concern of the “façade of knowledge” and take fewer risks in their portfolios leading to few highs and lows in returns.” Women are also less likely to speak up while men over-state their confidence. Including women can help more females to speak up without being overpowered.
There may also be class action suits that come to you if you do not include diversity in your business. Knowing of diversity problems and doing nothing to improve them can cause big legal problems for you. Research has shown that businesses with mixed gender boards have fewer instances of fraud, corruption and bribery.
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