Workplace diversity is a hot topic these days and one that many companies are paying more attention to. It’s easy to see why. According to McKinsey & Company, “Companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians, and companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15 percent more likely.” Let’s now discuss why management in particular needs to make diversity such a priority.
It All Starts at the Top
According to most experts, building a diverse workplace starts at the top with leading executives and works its way down. In other words, it’s necessary for management to be fully dedicated before anyone else will be.
According to Nicole Sanchez, VP of Social Impact at GitHub, “Diversity is not one of those things that will stick if you treat it as an ancillary. If your mandate is not coming from senior leadership, your ability to create truly diverse staff and inclusive culture plummets.”
As an employer, establishing a diverse workplace is basically in your hands. If it’s something that you’re passionate and adamant about, the rest of your team is more likely to follow suit and ultimately get on board.
The Key Advantages of Diversity
It’s much easier to integrate diversity into your company’s philosophy and ideology when everyone fully understands the associated benefits. For one, a diverse company is better equipped to handle change and adapt accordingly. As we move further into the 21st century where a globalized economy is the norm and change occurs at an ever-increasing speed, adaptability will be more important than ever.
You’ll also have more opinions and viewpoints, which inevitably means becoming more effective at finding solutions to whatever challenges you’re faced with. McKinsey & Company states, “More diverse companies, we believe, are better able to win top talent and improve their customer orientation, employee satisfaction and decision making, and all that leads to a virtuous cycle of increasing returns.”
Having the Right Perception
There’s one more critical point to make. The perception of hiring diverse employees can’t be that you’re settling or lowering the bar. Some companies fall into the trap of thinking that having a uniformed, unvaried workforce translates into quality. That by diversifying the workplace, you’re somehow lowering the bar just for the sake of looking politically correct.
But the fact of the matter is that eliminating discriminatory factors in the hiring process and creating a meritocratic workplace where employees are rewarded purely for their abilities gets results. Just look at this guide from Forbes on how workplace diversity fosters innovation.
Let’s recap. Diversity should be a top priority for any company who wants to thrive in today’s world. But for it to really work, it’s vital that top-level management places a major emphasis on it. This should increase the likelihood that it “trickles down” and becomes an integral part of company culture.
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