The Importance of Diversity in the Workplace
Achieving respect and equal rights for traditionally stigmatized people– such as people of color, LGBTQ+ people, women, indigenous people, people with disabilities– is a cultural shift that must be reflected by integrating greater diversity in the work environment.
This is because, in addition to ethical and social responsibility, the market has undergone significant changes, with the digital shift granting greater access to information. Thus, today, pluralism can be a true differential and improve the performance of companies and teams overall.
The following post will outline the main reasons why ensuring diversity in the workplace should be a constant concern of both workers and HR managers. Keep reading and put this idea into practice!
ADAPTING TO THE COMPANY’S ECOSYSTEM
Organizations should not be seen as islands. Every business exists in a context, which encompasses customers, suppliers, partners, competitors, public agencies and other entities of civil society.
This ecosystem generates the need to understand the overall picture and implement changes to increase productivity and social engagement. Otherwise, there will be a gap between the values, habits and customs of the company and the requirements of the environment, which can be incredibly harmful to the image of the company and, consequently, the conquest of customers.
It is not by chance, within the context of advancing social achievements, that companies need to invest in diversity in the workplace. As pluralism becomes an expectation of the most qualified consumers and professionals, maintaining practices incompatible with this concept can pose a serious risk to the business.
It is worth mentioning that HR professionals are the key components of this transformation, as they are in charge of recruiting, evaluating and developing the company’s workers, as well as working to create the company’s culture.
THE IMPACT OF DIVERSITY ON PRODUCT AND SERVICE INNOVATION
A second important reason for betting on pluralism is to form an intellectual capital based on diverse life experiences. Thus, with many differing opinions, there will be a wealth of world views, habits, customs, values, positions, versions, experiences, etc.
This knowledge is critical to understanding the demands and wants of consumers and thus increasing satisfaction with the products and services delivered. After all, how do you understand what people want or what they need without understanding how they live and behave?
One trend that illustrates this reasoning is the hiring of senior trainees. The idea, in this case, is to find people who provide teams with a completely different experience from their own. Thus, the group– which would otherwise consist only of young people– gains new possibilities and inputs from their seniors.
In fact, as well as improvements to products and services, the moments that diversity shines is in the search for innovation and pioneering insights. A homogeneous group can easily get stuck on the same ideas, with no one daring to think outside the box.
THE EFFECT OF DIVERSITY ON TALENT RETENTION
The development and retention of talented individuals is another point greatly benefited by diversity in the work environment. After all, companies often lose good professionals because of the difficulty they have in adapting to the characteristics of a function or team, and the absence of diversity is one of the main causes.
On the other hand, it is common for the more qualified professionals to seek knowledge-rich environments, leaving the financial issue in the background. Thus, also in this respect, the richest intellectual capital can be decisive.
And, if that is not enough, there is the tendency of professionals to want greater stakes in companies. This is because the cultural change reaches people even more quickly than institutions, which usually only after a hit to the company’s image.
THE ADVANTAGES OF AN INCLUSIVE ENTERPRISE
Alongside these aspects, there are many other advantages to an inclusive enterprise. This is because direct changes and effects have secondary and equally beneficial consequences. Here are some examples:
- developing an employer brand that is a place where people want to work
- access to new markets, especially niches linked to specific demands of minorities having social responsibility recognized by consumers
- transmitting relevant behavioral skills among team members
- establishing an organizational culture capable of inspiring and motivating people
Therefore, it is fundamental that, as an HR or People Management professional, you understand your relevant role in building a diverse and comfortable work environment.
THE ROLE OF HR PROFESSIONALS AND PEOPLE MANAGEMENT
By dealing directly with the composition of teams, HR and People Management professionals are at the forefront of the quest for greater social inclusion in companies. Here are 3 tips to deal with this responsibility, and to help produce satisfactory results:
1. BE AWARE OF THE CONVERGENCE OF BEHAVIORS
By joining a group, people gradually become more like each other– sharing values, habits, and customs between themselves. Therefore, the convergence of behaviors, although allowing the creation of an organizational culture, must always be observed with caution.
The ideal is to carry out constant check-ins to determine whether the behavioral standards required in the teams are inclusive or discriminatory, as well as establishing acceptable barriers within team relationships.
2. USE TECHNOLOGY IN THE PROCESSES
One of the major barriers to achieving greater diversity in the workplace is the so-called unconscious bias. Often, a group can be so stigmatized that, even with social advancement and a rational effort to combat prejudice, some remnants of such can remain rooted and affect behaviors, often going unnoticed by people.
Therefore, one of the ways to combat injustice is to use technology to make assessments more objective, as well as to create a database in which possible biases can be identified.
3. INVEST IN KNOWLEDGE
A third tip is to include pluralism and diversity as a theme during organizational training programs. Thus, with greater knowledge and access, the tendency is for the employees themselves to help facilitate the transformation of the company environment and culture.
In fact, resistance to changes in organizational culture will be gradually relaxed, giving greater scope to incorporate diversity into the work environment.