Diversity is a hot topic in management circles. After all, a homogeneous workforce is rapidly becoming less acceptable for modern businesses. A diverse work group does more than build social capital — it can also turn your business into an agile, high-performing powerhouse.
Diversity often leads to better innovation. Compare two teams: one comprised of people with nearly identical histories, and one that includes people from different educational, cultural and professional backgrounds. The first team is limited by its similarities. The second, because of its members' disparate experiences, automatically brings a variety of different ideas to the table. These varying perspectives make it easier to look at a problem from different angles and come up with creative and strategic solutions that benefit your clients and company.
Broader Skill Set
To be successful, a high-functioning team must have the hard skills to turn innovative solutions into reality. In this arena, a homogeneous team, because of its narrow set of practical competencies, also lags behind a diverse work group. An office full of engineers is technically adept, for example, but it might fall behind in creative design and efficient communication. By intentionally hiring workers from different backgrounds, you can fill skills gaps and enable your company to take on a broader scope of work. As a result, you can provide more comprehensive solutions for clients and avoid costly outsourcing.
A diverse work group creates an inclusive culture that makes all types of employees feel respected and supported. For workers who have been marginalized in other jobs, this type of inclusivity can be a transformative experience. Rather than suppressing their differences to fit in, individuals can feel free to be themselves. This type of culture can also help your company avoid accidental discrimination or suppression — in an environment where there's no distinct majority, it's easier to avoid minimizing minority groups.
Retention and Recruiting
An inclusive culture goes hand-in-hand with improved retention and recruiting for both employees and clients. Employees who feel valued and respected are more likely to be happy in their jobs, which can cut down on expensive turnover. On the recruiting side, a diverse work group is a big draw for professionals and potential clients who recognize the benefits of a varied team.
The bottom line is often the final word on a company's success, and a diverse work group can help you stay profitable. According to a 2010 McKinsey study, companies with the highest levels of executive-board diversity had returns on equity that were an average of 53 percent higher than companies with the lowest. Margins on earnings before interest and taxes were also higher for more diverse companies.
A diverse work group benefits your business in virtually all operational areas. By embracing people from different backgrounds, you can position your company to succeed in domestic and global markets.
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