Importance of Diversity & Inclusion in the Workplace

In any company, employers must decide who will make up the team. Hiring people of similar backgrounds and skills has some advantages -- for example, similar backgrounds provide a platform for good communication. Even so, in general, employers who strive for a diverse, inclusive workplace fare better than those who do not. Subsequently, diversity and inclusiveness in business is a major human resources topic.

  1. Diversity, Innovation and Profit

    • When a workplace is diverse and includes people of many walks of life, employees constantly expose each other to different paths of thought and methods of solving similar problems. This helps employees think more outside the box, pool cognitive and physical resources and be more innovative. The increase in innovation helps the company approach markets in fresh ways and stay competitive. This potentially leads to an increase in revenue and profit.

    Hiring

    • A workplace that subscribes to diversity concepts is not limited to any one population when it seeks new employees. This means employers can take more applications and make positions more competitive. With more competition, the employers have a better chance of finding employees who truly are the best in their field and who fit the company. When jobs become available due to retirement, voluntarily leave and similar circumstances, employers quickly can find a qualified applicant. This means the company goes only a short time without a necessary worker and production experiences very little setback.

    Reflection of Population

    • The United States long has been a "melting pot" of cultures. This means that truly competitive companies cannot focus on just one population, as doing so would ignore potentially millions of customers. A diverse and inclusive workforce provides a better, more accurate reflection of a company's entire market base, which challenges the company to come up with products, services and marketing strategies that will reach a maximum number of clients. It also allows the company to respond better to market change, as employees represent a larger percentage of the population.

    Considerations

    • Diversity and inclusion in the workplace are protected via anti-discrimination laws. These laws indicate that employees cannot discriminate based on factors such as race, religion, age and gender. This doesn't mean that all employers adhere to the law as they should, but it does mean that employees have rights and that they can fight to work. The regulations also promote the idea that employers should utilize strategies that support diversity. Employers can do this via actions such as accommodating religious holidays, offering career development for all employees, collecting and analyzing data about the demographics of the company, actively recruiting people from different populations and backgrounds, setting diversity goals and providing incentives when the company meets those goals. Employers must work against the barriers to diversity -- fear, unrealistic goals and objectives and the desire for others "like me" -- to make these strategies work.

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References

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