For millennia, openness to change has driven the human race to where we stand today – intellectually, emotionally, socially and culturally. Every facet that adds any value to the existence of our race has been evolving at a steady pace. On the business front as well, we have endeavoured to stay up to date with the changing needs of society and have continued to adapt to the same, for it is the people that can make or break a business. In a progressive society such as today’s, where humans are beginning to accept and celebrate diversity, it is only ethical for businesses to become more sensitive to such changing cultural norms. Eliminating discrimination at the workplace and building an all-round diverse team has become every leader’s top priority – for the time has come to step up from old-school, rigid and biased recruitment policies passed down to us and build a level playing field for all. Today’s manager values every-single-body. The “old”, the young; women and men; the experienced and the “inexperienced” creative individual; people belonging to diverse religions, cultures and ethnicities – every opinion is being heard and every mind, encouraged to think. We are on the brink of a revolution – it is the way we’re reconstructing the personnel make-up of our teams to optimize every process from the mundane to the creative and to promote an overall positive work environment. Here’s why it is of prime importance to cultivate and encourage diversity and inclusivity at the workplace.
Because talent is what you’re looking for
… And talent is what you’re going to get, if you recruit diverse individuals into your professional set up. Talent that is relevant to your business can be discovered across all cultures and ethnicities, regardless of gender or age. In fact, openness to diversity ensures a greater opportunity and likelihood to discover and recruit talent that fits the bill for the needs of your organization. By recruiting from an assorted pool of potential employees, you are more likely to hire the top professionals for the industry. In a market as competitive as the one we thrive in today, where the right talent is critical to bring an edge to your organization, putting together a mixed bag of candidates is becoming increasingly important to succeed. Besides, companies that encourage diversity in their workforce attract more employees than those that don’t. This puts you as an employer in a position to choose from a bigger pool of potential candidates.
Enhanced synergy and greater creativity
The amount of synergy that a culturally diverse organizational make up can bring forth to your team has countless benefits. While the younger group can bring more creativity and fearless risk taking to the table, older individuals can balance the equation with their experience and honed sense of calculated decision making, while also acting as mentors to the younger group. With individuals from varied cultures, genders and age groups lending their own touch to ideation, brain storming sessions can assuredly become more productive in terms of problem solving, creative direction, planning, and the fact that a plethora of perspectives is in play. Active practice of cultural sensitivity in the workforce can also inspire a free flow of thought, hence enabling all employees to perform at the best of their abilities.
Active Employee Engagement
A workplace comprising employees coming from different ethnic backgrounds, for example, becomes an active opportunity for them to make direct conversation in order to learn about one another and to appreciate their colleagues’ varied roots and heritage. For employees to come together and chat about their respective personal experiences growing up, or about the place where they come from, or the festivals they celebrate, or about their family – is a great way for them to add the value of friendship to an otherwise professional relationship. This, in turn encourages your employees to trust in their colleagues, only to harvest the fruit of such trust during a trying phase when everybody in the team is required to come together and work as a tight, well co-ordinated unit. Such active engagement also ensures harmony and peace at the workplace, and an overall upbeat and positive environment, hence keeping the workforce energy and motivation levels up at all times. Employee satisfaction is, has been, and will always be paramount, and diversity is one of the many solutions to heighten your employees’ experience at work.
Improved Client Servicing
Whatever be the size or nature or reach of your business, one of the many benefits of having an ethnic and culturally diverse workforce is that it enables you to serve all your clients – existing and potential – better. If you’re ready to expand the scale of your business to an international level, for example, having a culturally sensitive workforce that can communicate in the language of your potential clientele can add great advantage to the mission of your business. Communication is, after all, a building block to prosperity – a very important one. And the ability of an organization to communicate effectively with the client and ensure a smooth, positive customer experience determines said organization’s potential to build long term business relationships. This can have a direct positive impact on your company’s financial growth in the long term.
Improve brand reputation
The millennial is keeping a vigilant eye on the market as one actively scouts for companies that encourage and support diversity within their teams. The younger, “woke” members of society do not want to engage in service for a company that is practicing discrimination in recruitment or placement in hierarchy. It has therefore become very critical for companies to eliminate any bias that may pertain to one’s culture, ethnicity, language, race, religion, age, gender or sexual orientation. Smart managers are rapidly becoming more aware of this reality – that including diversity in one’s team is a chance to set one’s practices right by becoming more sensitive to heterogeneity and to create equal opportunity for everybody from our rapidly growing population. And in a world where content consumption trends and methods are bringing organizations into an almost perpetual spotlight, companies today must pay close attention to diversity in their teams.
Owing to the pervasive utilization of social media within present culture, marketing campaigns are very conveniently coming under public enquiry. It is now more crucial than ever to examine how your company is being perceived by the millennial and the Gen Y – which make both, your consumers as well as your employees. We are also beginning to realize that diversity in our teams can fuel that rocket ship that will fly us to a better future. Society is growing to become more and more accepting and respectful – of varying identities, personalities, cultures, ethnicities and individual choices. Everybody is beginning to realize how important and healthy it is for us as a civilized society to become not only more accepting and encouraging of diversity, but to celebrate it!
Managers and recruiters must no longer depend on stereotypes set by their predecessors – we must now be careful to target all audiences, and be more inclusive irrespective of culture, ethnicity, age, race, religion, language, and gender, and also learn to suspend our biases by taking into consideration the LGBTQ community. Companies must strive to embody the diversity of the market they cater to, and this certainly goes beyond performance and profitability – for it also makes a wonderful, lasting impact on the social scenario as well!
This article appeared in the print edition of Indian Management Magazine. For more interesting blogs, click here.