Employers in every sector want their workplace to be one that fosters innovation and creativity, supports employee empowerment, helps improve hiring and retention, and facilitates both productivity and growth.
In many cases, all these outcomes can either be achieved or accelerated by increasing workplace diversity.
But what does it mean to have a diverse workplace, and how does it help your business?
What is workplace diversity?
In embracing workplace diversity, an employer makes a conscious, intentional effort to build a workforce that represents a multitude of different backgrounds. This includes different genders, ages, races, religions, physical abilities, level of experience, and socioeconomic statuses.
There’s no magic formula for creating workplace diversity, and the end results will look different at each organization. The important part is making the decision to view every hiring and staffing decision through a diversity lens, putting biases aside, both conscious and unconscious, and considering the full range of qualities and attributes each candidate brings to the table.
Hiring, however, is not the only avenue for workplace diversity efforts. From the leadership level on down, your entire workplace should pay heed to diversity and inclusion, creating an environment where diversity is both encouraged and embraced across the organization.
Diversity brings added perspectives and leads to better ideas
By bringing people of different genders, different nationalities, or different backgrounds together, you get a broad range of viewpoints and perspectives that most homogenous groups can’t generate.
Diverse people have diverse backgrounds and experiences, ideas, and insights. In a diverse, inclusive workplace, all that knowledge and creativity is brought together, producing an environment that’s ripe for problem-solving and innovation. The Harvard Business Review has shown that teams with cognitive diversity (i.e. a diversity of perspectives and information processing styles) solve problems more quickly than groups that are cognitively similar.
Diversity can improve talent acquisition and retention
A diverse, inclusive workplace is one where people of all backgrounds feel comfortable and welcomed. It’s an environment that’s often especially valued by many younger workers and recent graduates, who understand and appreciate the societal benefits of diversity. Workplace diversity helps employers attract the broadest range of talent possible, while also making the business more appealing to millennials and younger job seekers.
Besides helping to bring talent in the door, workplace diversity has also been shown to promote employee retention efforts. By giving employees the opportunity to succeed, and showing them the possibility of a path towards promotion and growth, workers will be less likely to leave your organization for opportunities elsewhere.
Diversity can boost your bottom line
According to research from McKinsey & Company, businesses with racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to have higher financial returns, while businesses with gender diversity are 15 percent more likely to have higher financial returns.
How does diversity help increase profitability? Part of it is due to the way employees tend to react to successful diversity initiatives; with elevated satisfaction and morale, faster problem-solving and decision-making skills, and increased output. Additionally, public awareness of a company’s diversity mandate can result in a boost in reputation and goodwill, which in turn leads to growth in sales, partnerships, and customer satisfaction.
Finally, embracing diversity puts businesses in position to tap into the knowledge and abilities of their employees, such as language skills or international contacts, and find success by expanding into new markets.
Want a more diverse workplace? Magnet’s Diversity Filter builds diversity into your candidate search. When you post a job on Magnet, you can choose to share that posting with job seekers who have indicated they identify with specific employment equity groups including women, youth, Indigenous peoples, newcomers, racialized peoples, LGBTQ2S+ peoples, persons with disabilities, veterans, and Canadians living in rural, remote, and Northern communities.