Ensuring that your workforce is diverse provides many benefits beyond merely generating good public relations. Most significantly, it is excellent for business. Having a leadership team made up of executives from a variety of backgrounds is particularly essential when it comes to enhancing your long-term financial success.
Companies possessing diversity among their management generate 19 percent more revenue, according to a study by the Boston Consulting Group that examined 1700 different companies across eight different countries. This finding of increased revenue is true across businesses in various industries and of different sizes, ranging from startups to more established companies.
One primary reason for having a multicultural workforce is because it spurs innovation. People from different walks of life bring a vast range of viewpoints to conversations focused on addressing both business opportunities and various challenges. These varied perspectives provide company leadership with more ideas to review when considering implementing new approaches. This often results in solutions they would not have otherwise developed and that are far more well-rounded.
Ideas to tackle problems that arise are also often crafted more quickly when employees from diverse backgrounds participate in the process, according to the Harvard Business Review. Swift and practical solutions to pressing issues are always helpful to the bottom line.
Another essential benefit of seeking the input of staff members from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds, among others, is it creates a climate of inclusion. An inclusive atmosphere allows employees to feel valued, which in turn generates greater staff engagement and retention. A study by Deloitte found that when employees feel included, innovation increases by 83 percent.
A climate of inclusion is much preferable to one in which employees feel their input is ignored, prompting them to shy away from offering ideas that could help the company achieve a breakthrough. That type of environment can result in diverse employees leaving to find a more supportive professional atmosphere.
Your company’s customers and clients will also appreciate interacting with employees from a wide array of backgrounds and who are happy to be working for your business. This will generate more return business. Many businesses may seek to confirm that you promote diversity before forming partnerships with your firm or coming to you for their business needs.
A diverse workforce could also provide greater insight into the needs of your customers from various backgrounds. This is a far less costly way of doing market research for your business.
Here are four key tips for building an environment at your company that promotes the importance of diversity and multiculturalism:
- Prioritize Diversity in Recruitment: Building a diverse workforce starts with the recruiting process. Posted positions should emphasize that your company is seeking applications from people of all backgrounds, and the job descriptions should be written in a way so that they appeal to a broad spectrum of applicants. Some companies require their hiring managers to interview at least one person from an underrepresented group for each job they are seeking to fill. Your HR representatives should also be encouraged to attend job fairs where they know there will be job seekers from all different walks of life. They would be wise to share job postings with recruiters that prioritize diversity. If you review the applications received for a particular position and are disappointed with the lack of wide-ranging backgrounds, you could broaden the avenues you used for the search. Your company won’t be able to boost its diversity if it does not have high-quality candidates from different cultures and ethnicities to consider during the hiring process.
- Provide Training Opportunities: It is one thing to say that diversity is essential in your workplace. Often, employees need assistance in figuring out how to create the type of climate you hope to establish. Trainings are a great way to offer that help to staff. Holding unconscious bias training is one approach that more companies are adopting because everyone harbors prejudices and discriminatory feelings that they may not realize they hold. Sessions to assist employees in becoming aware of their own biases and providing guidance about how to eliminate them are shown to be very beneficial. Consistently holding pieces of training is much more fruitful than one-off experiences because it allows employees to keep growing in their embrace of co-workers of different backgrounds and perspectives. Additionally, making written materials available about the importance of diversity and how to strengthen a climate of inclusion is another step your company would be wise to take.
- Create Diversity-Friendly Policies: One meaningful way to make clear to your employees that you embrace diversity is through your company policies. For example, you could require that performance evaluations assess what an employee has done to promote diversity in the workplace. Permitting workers to take off for religious holidays that are not observed by the company is another possible approach, as is not scheduling key events during times of prayer or fasting due to religious observances. More informally, celebrating cultural events with different international foods and music can create a climate where workers know multiculturalism is appreciated. Once the policies are established, you will want to make sure a high-level manager is tasked to ensure they are effectively implemented and understood by the workforce.
- Establish mentorship programs: Employees of diverse backgrounds would benefit from forming close connections with more experienced employees from similar backgrounds. These veteran employees can guide their younger colleagues about how to excel professionally, especially as someone from an underrepresented group. These types of relationships could develop through a formal mentorship program at your company, or through a culture that informally encourages more senior employees to seek out newer workers to mentor. The strong bonds formed as part of healthy mentor-mentee relationships will help the junior employees feel supported and comfortable at your company. If your business is not big enough for a formal mentorship program, you could encourage your employees to pursue mentors through local business associations in your field or with groups for business people from diverse backgrounds.
As you can see, there are a variety of ways to build a diverse workforce and ensure multiculturalism is valued at your company. Doing so will produce many different benefits for your business, including better financial performance.
At Barbachano International, we are experienced with assisting companies in the United States, Mexico, and Latin America with identifying and recruiting diverse candidates. Contact us for more information. Also, if you are looking for additional ways to improve workforce productivity, you may find value in this article about talent activation.
By Fernando Ortiz-Barbachano
President and CEO of Barbachano International (BIP), the Human Capital Solutions leader in Mexico, Latin America, and the USA, offering high-impact executive search, executive coaching, and outplacement.
At Barbachano International, we understand the importance of recruiting and the return on investment that top talent can deliver for you. With 27 years in the industry, we know firsthand how imperative it is for an organization to have the right people to achieve its business objectives. We help you avoid painful hiring mistakes and reduce turnover by identifying top performers for your team that result in long-term success.
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