There is a lot of hype and buzz in the business world when it comes to the topic of diversity. Embracing it in all environments inspire creativity and innovation, as well as respect and awareness. As diversity pushes its way back to the forefront of conversations, it's important to identify whether we are doing enough to embrace it within our own teams and to recognise its positive impact on company growth.
Workplaces that are shaped by diversity have the potential to accelerate innovation, creativity and market growth. This may seem like a pretty obvious concept when it comes to diversity in skill sets and work background, but what about social diversity? Research by organisational scientists, psychologists, sociologists, economists and demographers show that socially diverse groups (diversity of race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation) are more innovative than homogeneous groups.
Creating diversity in a team however can be difficult. Even the mention of the word 'diversity' can lead to an uncomfortable tone in discussion, with gender inequality being a very pressing issue globally. In fact, Australia's Workplace Gender Equality Agency Commission reported that the national gender pay-gap is currently 15.3%, and has been stuck between 15%-19% for the last two decades. If diversity is not embraced in the workplaces, it can be very easy for employees to feel isolated, uncomfortable, and can lead to team conflict or an employee resignation. It is important now to talk about diversity in a way that is more approachable and actionable, and highlight the benefits it can add to the workplace.
Here are a few examples of how diversity can improve your company:
- Creativity: Different viewpoints, life experiences, and mindsets allow for a larger creative skill set. The team will have a wider array of ideas in terms of how to approach the tasks at hand, and in turn creates the possibility for more effective results.
- Larger Market Reach: When you have a team with more social diversity, you create a more multicultural understanding and that in turn allows for a larger reach in your client-base. If a member has traits in common with a client, they are much more likely to understand them and have a better reach to connecting with them. More social diversity with the team creates a stronger relatability to different customer types, has the potential of overcoming language barriers, and enables a stronger company-client relationship.
- Innovation: Diversity has a positive boost in innovation because where it exists, there is more critical evaluation. There may be more aversion to initial ideas and plans, but this is were more constructive thinking takes place. With a wider knowledge base to extract from, this allows for more 'outside of the box' thinking and accelerated problem solving.
With a diverse team comes conflicting opinions. Not always will their beliefs and opinions align, and this will challenge team mates to problem solve, compromise, and help continue to shape each other's perspectives. It may not always be a walk in the park, but hard work can lead to a better outcome. It is important to encourage, communicate, and celebrate inclusion and understanding of diversity, so employees can feel confident in their abilities to achieve their best and feel happy and comfortable in their work environment. The higher the team morale, the better the team productivity!