Diversity is about more than where you’re from. It’s about culture, ethnicity, language, nationality, age, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic background, religion and ability.
Here in New Zealand, we’re growing in all these areas, so embracing our vibrant make up and becoming a more inclusive society has never been more important.
What does this mean for business? Well it turns out workplaces are in a unique position to benefit from increased diversity.
Here's 5 reasons why diversity and inclusion is better for business:
1. Diverse teams make better decisions
What workplace wouldn’t want to make better decisions? Professors from leading universities in the United States conducted a series of studies and found that diverse teams continually out perform homogeneous teams when tasked with problem-solving.
Although homogeneous teams didn’t come up with any less ideas, diverse teams examined and processed information from a greater range of perspectives, leading to better quality decisions. They were quicker at it too!
2. More financially competitive
New research from American organisation McKinsey & Company presented a fascinating trend: companies with a greater mix of ethnicity, race and gender in their workforce are more likely to financially out perform other companies in the same industry.
The report, Diversity Matters, examined 366 public companies across Canada, Latin America, the United States and the United Kingdom.
So maintaining a diverse workforce and management team has far reaching benefits, and one of those can be a healthier profit margin!
3. Ability to recruit better talent
Finding the right skills and managing staff turnover can be a headache. Recruitment can be a significant time investment and businesses sometimes fall into hiring patterns. This often results in a workplace of people that come from similar backgrounds and behave in a similar way.
By considering applications from those who challenge the norm, you’ll have more options to choose from and the ability to really transform your workplace dynamic.
4. Changing with the times
New Zealand is a flag bearer for diversity. In Auckland alone, Statistics New Zealand have recorded more than 220 ethnic groups and around 50% of the workforce are migrants.
Having a diverse workforce prepares a business to better serve the growing diversity of their customer base. Future proof your business and move with the times.
5. Lead by example and gain a following
A good reputation is something you can’t put a price on. If your business is a leader in diversity and inclusive practice, you’ll see results.
Companies with a diverse workforce are more likely to be seen by employees as progressive and fair. As for customers, if they can see themselves reflected in your business, it creates a connection - a strong one.
People around the country, in your city and in your community will want to do business with you and work for you.
Z are looking for more ways to build a diverse workforce and promote inclusivity. It’s early days, but there’s already been some positive results along the way and they’ve got their eye on even more ways to improve.
If you already have a diverse workforce, that’s great! Look at how you can further accept, encourage and promote and your staff in their roles.
If it’s a goal to become more diverse or to embrace the diverse elements of your business, then focusing on inclusion can encourage your staff to be themselves and make the workplace more attractive to prospective employees who bring a different perspective.
Here are a couple of quick tips to take with you:
Be mindful of your hiring practices and your unconscious bias when recruiting new people.
Look for ways to create opportunities for your diverse teams to mix and work together more often.
Invest in team building time and leadership skill courses.
Create goals and a vision as a group for your organisation to work towards.
Keep lines of communication open and educate yourself and your staff about your vision, plan, and each other’s needs.