Workplace diversity is important as it provides equal opportunities and rights for all employees. A diverse workplace includes people from different genders and ethnicities, but it also includes religion, culture, educational background, language, sexual orientation and skills and abilities. This includes not only providing equal opportunities but also respecting and valuing skills and differences that each employee brings to the workplace.
Creativity and Innovation
A group of like-minded people will most likely generate similar ideas because their thinking process is very much alike. Therefore, when a diverse group of individuals of different backgrounds are put together, this group is more prone to creativity and innovation – which are two of the most important factors of success. A recent study concluded that companies with a diverse workforce generated almost 20% more revenue than companies without a diverse workforce (Boston Consulting Group). A diverse team can reach solutions quicker and produce more unique ideas than a team with similar backgrounds. Another study by Harvard Business Review found that teams solve complex, unfamiliar problems faster when they are more cognitively diverse.
Research has concluded that by diversifying a team, productivity increases by 35%. On top if this, a diverse workforce is more likely to understand customer needs and produce effective ideas to fulfil them. Diversity can also increase employee morale and increase the desire to be more effective which will have an impact on productivity levels. A workplace that encourages inclusion makes employees feel more valued and accepted, boosting employee morale and confidence, which is then means more productive employees and higher employee retention.
Having a diverse team also improves cultural awareness, not just internally but externally as well. For example, if a company does business with China, having an employee who can speak Mandarin is an asset and can lead to improved workplace relations.