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Start-Ups

Embrace Diversity in Your Workplace

By Garrett Spence   |    July 14, 2017   |    8:20 AM

Workplace Diversity is a Big Win for Your Business

When companies begin to stagnate it is often because they have failed to embrace diversity. A lack of diversity in their workplace results in a dearth of fresh ideas and an inability to tackle problems innovatively. It is vital to encourage diversity of all kinds. Academic research has proven that it pays off. Your staff should embody diversity; this includes taking into account race, religion, gender, sexual orientation and disability. A study by the Harvard Business Review suggests businesses benefit from diversity, especially in terms of creative problem-solving. Another research project by Morgan-Stanley determined that gender diversity in the boardroom may result in higher stock prices. The bottom line is, the more varied the talent working in your firm, the more diverse the opinions and ideas backing your business. This in turn will lead to a more savvy, innovative and agile company. Here is how to ensure you embrace diversity and benefit from the competitive edge it will give your firm.

Mind the Gender Gap

Increased gender diversity has been proven in business settings to result in a more creative company culture, increased productivity, better profitability, happier staff and less volatility. Yet it seems that certain markets such as finance, tech and similar sectors are lacking in gender diversity, as the vast majority of staff are male. Although things are rapidly changing, senior roles are also still dominated by male staff.  If your company wishes to embrace diversity it is vital to assess what the gender ratio is in your company and ensure that you create inclusive hiring policies to maximize the chance of hiring people of all genders. Pay for all genders must be equal. Likewise, it is vital to put measures in place to avoid discrimination, such as equal opportunities for promotions. If your company suffers from a lack of gender diversity, it is time to take affirmative action when hiring new staff. For example, if your company is largely male-dominated, you may wish to favour candidates who are female or transgender.

Create an Open Environment

Many companies fail to attract diverse talent due to an old-fashioned or close-minded company culture. These sorts of businesses acquire a reputation of hiring a certain sort of person, or promoting only one way of doing things, and are averse to anything or anyone that differs. On the other hand, some companies, like BASF, have actively implemented measures to promote diversity. BASF’s business strategy is purposely geared towards hiring people of all ages, creeds, colours, faiths, genders, sexual orientation as well as people with disabilities. Actively and publically creating an inclusive environment will attract a wide range of talent to your company and allow you to reap the benefits of a wide pool of talent.

Understand and Promote Diversity

Nothing is worse for your company than the lemming effect. Diversity is key in generating fresh ideas and nimbly coping with issues as they arise. If everyone thinks alike no new ideas will surface. To promote diversity, you need to understand it and encourage it. Your company should offer appropriate offices and facilities for people with disabilities. Ensure your office is open to different genders, diverse cultures and recognize as well as allow staff to observe religious or other diverse cultural holidays, from Yom Kippur to Diwali to the Day of the Dead. You staff should be given the freedom to express their difference.