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Why is diversity in the workplace important?

Learn how to promote diversity in your business!

Illustrations of four different people representing diversity in the workplace.

The lack of gender, racial and ethnic diversity at the workplace is a common issue worldwide. Women, non-whites and minorities are under-represented in executive leadership positions in several countries.

According to a study carried out by the consulting firm McKinsey, women represent only 11%, on average, of governing bodies of the top companies of EU countries. Also, African Americans account for a mere 6.7% of the 16.2 million leadership positions in the US.

With economic and social rise, political minorities started to demand their places in different business niches. Customers are also beginning to see the need of demanding from their favorite brands an inclusion that goes beyond social marketing.

Thus, it’s important to know more about the importance of diversity in the workplace, its benefits, and how to properly implement it.

To familiarize yourself with this subject, read this article to the end. Let’s get started!

What is diversity in the workplace?

The arrival of women to the job market and the social and economic rise of minority ethnic groups are recent events that begin to change corporate environments.

Therefore, we can say that diversity in the workplace is a corporate policy in which the hiring and retaining of talent focuses on plurality among employees.

In addition to gender and racial diversity, companies are also starting to take the inclusion of religious, sexual, disabled and elderly people into account.

Why is it worth having a diverse team?

Consumer behavior has changed and the new generations are increasingly aware of the social responsibility of the brands they consume.

In addition, studies indicate that diversity in a business increases productivity, brings better results and facilitates the creation of a healthier and more empathetic organizational environment.

Learn more about the main benefits of investing in a diversity policy for your business. 

1. Makes the environment prone to innovation

Groups formed by similar individuals with similar life experiences are usually creatively limited.

Heterogeneous teams on the other hand, are forced to deal with different perspectives of the same subject, which favors innovation and the achievement of results unlike those found in homogenous groups.

If you believe that this plurality might make the group’s interaction more difficult, you’re in for a surprise! 

Respect for diversity only occurs when you are in direct contact with it. Making it possible fot people to mingle with others who are different from them stimulates one’s ability to listen to others and favors more empathetic exchanges.

2. Improves the business’ image

The new generations are increasingly more concerned with issues related to sustainability and human rights. Having a diverse team allows products and services to be delivered, taking into account such aspects that are relevant to the audience.

In addition, the business’ improved image doesn’t occur only with consumers. A diversity in the workplace policy can also be a strategy for capturing talent with values that are the same as your organization’s values.

3. Facilitates communication transparency

Let’s suppose that your business intends to run an inclusive Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day campaign. The people featured are no limited to the standards usually used in advertising and we see black, overweight and LGBT actors, for example.

If you intend to communicate with niche groups, you need it to go beyond social marketing and show it in practice. 

Diversity policies can increase a business’ profits, but it needs to be done with some truth involved to prevent it from backfiring and end up creating a crisis or any other type of negative repercussion.

How to have a diversity policy at your business?

Now that you know what it’s about and understand the advantage of diversity in businesses, check out three simple and practical tips on how to adopt it.

Invest in technology for your selection processes

Some time ago, there was a viral riddle: it described the story of a child who had suffered an accident with his father. Both needed to be taken to the hospital and “the most competent person” there needed to perform the emergency surgery on their own child.

The purpose was to find out who this professional might be and many people thought that it might be a gay couple. Why is it so hard to assume that the most competent person was a woman, and the child’s mother?

This happens because of an unconscious bias. It is responsible for the small prejudices we carry with us, many times involuntarily.

Adopted technology in selection processes makes hiring isonomic and free of possible prejudgments. Thus, the recruiting and selection processes become consistent with the desired professional profile.

Invest in employee training

Developing cultural programs, lectures and courses that show the importance of diversity in the workplace help improve engagement among employees as well as turn them into agents of the organizational transformation.

After all, as we said earlier, you can’t respect diversity if you don’t know it.

Monitor the organizational environment

There’s no use in having a diversity policy, promoting this to attract talent and use social marketing to promote yourself if you don’t monitor the effectiveness of this strategy in your company’s daily activities.

You need to properly manage people, create satisfaction metrics and receive constant feedback to ensure that minorities are truly welcome and heard.

What have you learned so far?

Diversity in the workplace provides internal and external advantages for a business. As a policy, this practice is still recent, but we can already see a few changes.

With the proper strategy and constant monitoring, it is possible to ensure that diversity stops being simply theoretical and is applied in practice, providing as many benefits as possible to the business.

To continue reading about this subject, also check out 5 tips on how to develop people in your business.