If you ask executives and HR departments all over the country about what their priorities are for the near future, chances are they’ll tell you that diversity is a major goal for their organizations. Still, according to a recent survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), only about 57% have active strategies to recruit diverse candidates. With the U.S. becoming more ethnically and culturally diverse by the day, it’s an easy strategic goal to have.
But what often gets lost in buzzwords and trends is the why. Diversity and inclusion are essential goals for any group, but it’s important to understand what makes them such an asset to your organization—shining like a diamond you already have in your hands.
Diversity Leads To Innovation
When you have the same people in the room, day after day, you start to fall into patterns. It becomes a feedback loop for existing ideas and perspectives. When you bring in people who haven’t been working on the same problems in the same ways, with the same eyes and the same experiences, you gain a fresh perspective. Studies done by Forbes Insights have uncovered workforce diversity and inclusion as key drivers of internal innovation. Other studies, focusing specifically on problem-solving, have also found that diverse problem solvers outperform high-ability problem solvers. This doesn’t demean talent, but does show that getting different views in the room can help push past complacency and inefficiency.
Diversity Improves Customer Service
Whether your company serves customers directly or provides other services, there’s a base of people you need to reach. In an increasingly diverse society and world, that means there’s no homogenous customer. People know when you’re offering a generic, one-size-fits-all approach—and they also know when an organization goes beyond that to understand the nuances and differences in the people they serve. Authenticity is huge right now, and (by design) it’s something that an organization just can’t fake. Featuring diverse voices and people as part of your customer or client service plan is an essential way to build engagement and success.
Diversity Has A High ROI
A diverse organization is a thriving organization. Studies, including one done by the American Sociological Association, have found that diversity is not only socially beneficial—but also financially so. Across more than 500 organizations, they found that for every 1 percent increase in gender and racial diversity, organizations may see a 3 to 9 percent increase in sales revenue. And when you add ethnic and social diversity, revenue increases up to 15 percent. With companies trying to increase profitability while dealing with limited resources in a changing world, diversity is one of the most solid investments you can make.
Diversity Expands Recruitment Pipelines
Recruitment is an evergreen challenge for any organization. How do we get the best talent? How do we find them in the first place? Adopting a diversity-focused approach to recruiting can help you move beyond the usual recruitment avenues—specific websites, job boards, job fairs, school events. Thinking beyond the usual spaces can help you reach candidates you might not have found otherwise. Maybe the right candidates aren’t checking your go-to job posting spots, or maybe reaching out to community or cultural organizations can help you find people who wouldn’t otherwise have had your job on their radar.
Diversity Helps You Future-Proof
Diversity is an investment that you start making now, so that your company will continue to grow and thrive with a variety of team members. There are very few (if any) organizations that reach the top of their field and stay there by doing the same thing, with the same people, ad infinitum. Committing your organization to being more diverse and inclusive now, and putting processes in place to make sure you continue to bring in diverse talent, means you’re creating the right environment. Diversity adds the dimension you’ll need to shine brighter.