The Value of Diversity in the Workplace
People tend to think that workplace diversity means having enough people of color in the office to remove all doubt about systematic prejudice in the company. This is far from the truth. Indeed, the trouble with understanding diversity begins with the word itself. It is so vague and non-specific that few people are able to grasp the main idea to which it refers. I have used the word in the title of this article because those in business have probably heard it bandied about and know, at the very least, that it is an issue of concern.
Diversity in the workplace means recruiting people from as many different backgrounds—of race, ethnicity, gender, schooling, sexual orientation, and social-economic class—as you can. It means reaching out to different kinds of colleges and universities and recruiting people whose life experiences are varied.
Creating a diverse workplace has nothing to do with political correctness. Doing so can bring real and measurable value to your company. An article in Entrepreneur magazine lays out some of the tangible benefits of diversity.
The article correctly points out that globalization is now the norm in business. Twenty years ago only the largest enterprises were international or operated as a global unit. Now, even the smallest of start-ups has to work in a global marketplace if it is to survive. That means it must be attuned to the trends, tastes, needs, preferences, and outlooks of many different kinds of people:
That’s why it’s more important than ever before to build a diverse staff for your business: Recruiting and retaining a diverse, inclusive group of employees lets your company reflect the world around you and makes your team better able to develop fresh ideas that will meet the needs of the whole marketplace.
This is one of the most poignant observations in the article. Other insights can be read here.
Not only is today’s market global, it is more fragmented and diversified than ever before. Buying power is increasingly being commanded by women and minorities of many different groups. This also affects consumer trends, which it is important for companies to stay ahead of. Diverse workplaces have been proven to be more creative and innovative than non-diverse workplaces. They are able to capture more of the market and to give buyers what they want.
If you are running a business or are thinking of creating a start-up, you should look for the most intelligent and competent people you can find—with backgrounds completely different from yours.
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About Christopher Reid Chris was born in Washington, D.C. and lives in Britain. He works as a blogger, essayist, and novelist. His first book, Tea with Maureen, has just been published.