It’s Heritage month in South Africa, and diversity is always a hot topic here. Pat Wadors said that “when we listen and celebrate what is both common and different, we become wiser, more inclusive, and better as an organisation.” If businesses want to survive and succeed, they simply cannot ignore the advantages that come with having a diverse workforce. It’s the management and leaders’ role within their organisations to promote and optimise their diverse pool of talent who offer them unique skills, strengths, qualities, and a variety of perceptions. “A diverse mix of voices leads to better discussions, decisions, and outcomes for everyone,” said Sundar Pichai.
Diversity means that you literally have a variety of unique input at your fingertips because of different backgrounds, range of cultures, and a mixture of ethnicity. It’s not about being politically correct, but about growing as an organisation and realising what a diverse workforce can help you achieve.
5 Reasons why you should Embrace the Advantages of a Diverse Workforce
1. Cognitively Diverse Teams Solve Problems Faster.
A diverse group of employees approach problem solving from several angles because of their different backgrounds, experiences, and views. This means that they come up with multiple solutions quicker and thus a problem can be solved much easier and faster.
2. Enhances Innovation and Creativity.
If you have a rainbow assortment of colouring pencils in your pencil bag, your drawing or picture will look so much nicer, creative and colourful. This gives you the competitive edge above the person who only uses grey pencils. That is the same with a diverse group of employees. Because of their different perspectives, outlooks, and opinions, they tend to approach projects and scenarios from various viewpoints. This brings a steady “colourful” flow of creative and innovative ideas to solve problems in unique ways. Fresh ideas lead to innovative designs and new thought patterns.
3. A Bigger Knowledge Pool.
Because of an assortment of knowledge and skills accompanied by a vast number of experiences, a diverse workforce provides you a library full of information, expertise, knowhow, education, and intelligence at your disposal. It also gives your workforce the opportunity to learn from one another internally. In turn, it also helps with personal growth of each individual employee. Assist each one to learn new experiences and to soak up some of the knowledge that diverse employees offer.
4. Motivates and Builds a Positive Organisational Culture.
Employees who feel included, accepted and who feel valued, are employees who motivate each other and who build a positive organisational culture. They keep engaging with one another and build trust among each other because they feel accepted and respected. This also retains and attracts talent because your company becomes more appealing to jobseekers. When you have a positive organisational culture, the business portrays a very positive image to the outside world. This means that a diverse but positive and motivated culture with the organisation will give the company a good reputation.
5. Give a Competitive Edge
Having a diverse workforce means you have inside information to what your diverse customer base wants and needs are. Your diverse workforce, understand, have insight, and are culturally sensitive toward your customers, meaning they have local knowledge that is of higher quality and thus can target more specific in terms of the company’s marketing. This is very valuable information when it comes to the correct design and marketing strategy.
However, as with anything in life, diverse workforces also come with challenges. It is instrumental towards the growth of your company that employees understand diversity in the workplace. They need to comprehend how it works. What the hurdles are to look out for and how to overcome challenges that go with working in a diverse workforce.
R Roosevel Thomas, Jr. said “Creating and managing a diverse workforce is a process, not a destination.”