The importance of diversity has become a platitudinous concept. It is taken for granted that diversity is desirable and because of this, it is easy to forget exactly why diversity is critical to any collective. This is especially true of workplaces which frequently talk about it but rarely implement it. Several organisations are male dominated, especially when it comes to leadership positions. The way to ensure that a company prioritises diversity is by showing a clear link between a diverse workplace and the profitability of a company; it is an easy way to convince an employer that ensuring representation of a wide array of people is a win-win situation for the company.
It is definitely important to have women from all backgrounds represented at each level of a workplace. This not only helps the company move forward, it also ensures a continuously diverse workplace because a culture of diversity attracts varied talent. Keeping this in mind, here are some ways in which diversity drives a company forward:
Prioritising hire of female talent in order to ensure an even sex ratio, and hiring women and men from various backgrounds, adds a lot of fresh perspective to any company. With each person contributing in different ways, brainstorming sessions will be more effective, ensuring that new and exciting products and services are created. This is in stark contrast to a homogenous workplace which becomes an echo chamber wherein the perspective is uniform and everybody has similar mindsets, ideas, and solutions.
Improving brand reputation and attracting customers
Diversity is a strong marker of a healthy organisation, so much so that there are awards given out for diversity in the workplace. Customers that do their diligence before approaching any company will have increased faith in a diverse organisation. This is also an emerging trend in India; workplaces are strongly advocating specifically for bridging gender disparity. Women-owned businesses are on the rise, and customers are also more likely to choose a company that has a healthy proportion of women in the workplace.
Widening talent pool
Employees are increasingly seeing diverse workplaces as being more desirable, therefore giving these workplaces an edge in terms of recruitment. This also ties in with the brand reputation of the company concerned. There is increasing awareness about diversity being inherently good which conditions prospective employees to prioritise this as a factor while considering an employer. For instance, Google boasts a diverse workplace and has a strong reputation of being a very good employer, therefore, attracting and retaining top-notch talent.
Diversity begets diversity
Once a diverse organisation is set up, people from various backgrounds are more likely to apply to the workplace. After the initial effort that goes into attracting people from various backgrounds, it is smooth sailing as it is a self-perpetuating cycle. Women will find workplaces with no gender disparity to be desirable, since it indicates that they will be treated at par and stand as good a chance at success as their male counterparts.
Boosting morale and therefore, productivity
People from various backgrounds come with such fresh and varied perspectives that working in the office will never be a bore. Diverse workplaces are exciting, and contain people with a very wide range of interests, talents, and hobbies. A happier workforce makes for a more productive workforce, indirectly making a diverse workforce a more dedicated one to the organisation’s success.
A happy workforce is likely to stay on at the concerned organisation. Organisations invest time and effort into training employees and honing their skills, making high attrition rates a cause for large losses. With a happy, diverse workforce, talented employees that are assets to the organisation will continue to stay on and contribute to the growth of the company.
Improving collaboration and communication
Studies indicate that women might be better at reading non-verbal cues as compared to their male counterparts. Having more women in the workplace will therefore improve collaboration and cooperation between employees. Good team dynamics contribute immensely towards an efficient workplace.
As beneficial and healthy as diversity may be, it becomes challenging to remain sensitive to the requirements of every group. Addressing the concerns of the various groups is also an important part of a healthy workplace. Zomato in India has implemented an annual 10-day leave policy for menstrual health which is bound to attract more female talent. As per the personal account of a friend employed by Goldman Sachs, the company has good policies for paternity leave. Diversity, and good policies that account for it, is clearly crucial for any organisation to succeed.
(Edited by Varsha Roysam)