One of the most important lessons for entrepreneurs to learn early is the value of diversity in the workplace. Ideally, entrepreneurs should make diversity a priority from their very first hire. Censia‘s AI-powered recruiting solutions can help entrepreneurs do just that. The company’s technology allows business leaders to find highly talented, qualified candidates and build diverse teams that power successful companies. The platform’s reliance on AI helps reduce human bias in recruiting.
With a diverse workforce, an organization can better reflect its customers or the people it serves, and market to them more effectively. Organizations that prioritize diversity also tend to be more creative and innovative—they have a broader, more inclusive view of the world and are less likely to cling to tired stereotypes.
When discussing diversity, it’s important to remember that diversity exists along several different lines: race, ethnicity, age, gender, religion, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic background, and even factors like personal life experience or personality type. Diversity is itself diverse.
Read on to learn more about a few of the most significant benefits of creating a diverse workforce.
Lower turnover rates.
Statistics from the US Department of Labor demonstrate high turnover rates since 2008. For this reason, entrepreneurs need to consider how they can increase retention, especially for their most valuable team members. In 2014, Glassdoor published survey results showing that most employees think that their companies should be doing more than they are to increase diversity in the workplace. Furthermore, a lack of diversity in the workplace can make the environment unfriendly or even hostile for people who feel different from the majority of employees. This issue can cause these employees to become disengaged and ultimately look for another job. Diversity helps people feel more comfortable being themselves and sharing their unique points of view. Ultimately, diversity can promote greater job satisfaction.
Better reflection of the market.
Today’s market is incredibly diverse and only becoming more so through the process of globalization. For many companies, success depends on their ability to market to a wide range of people. Companies can do this when their workforce resembles the market. People from different backgrounds bring unique perspectives on what different people want out of a product, which can inform both product development and marketing.
While a diverse staff isn’t a substitute for thorough market research, having an insider’s perspective is an invaluable tool for companies, particularly if they are trying to target a specific demographic. For instance, it makes intuitive sense that if a company is trying to market a product to Hispanic women over 30, the marketing team should either include Hispanic women from this age group or consult with them.
More creative innovation.
People who come from different backgrounds and have unique experiences will propose different solutions to the same problem. While some people may think that having a wide range of ideas and opinions could hinder progress, the opposite often proves true in practice. Engaging with several possible approaches to a problem can help teams find truly creative solutions. Research from Harvard Business School has shown that business networks consisting of culturally diverse individuals demonstrate greater creativity, because the different perspectives lead to discussion of solutions that no one person could have proposed alone. The true value of diversity is evident when people get together to discuss collaborative solutions that take into account a variety of experiences and perspectives.
Stronger team performance.
Diversity can help every member of a team perform better—not just the people who are perceived as contributing more to diversity. This lesson is perhaps best demonstrated by Etsy, which undertook an initiative to increase the number of women on its engineering team after recognizing that 80 percent of its user base identifies as female. Through these initiatives, the company increased the number of women engineers by 400%. While Etsy expected that these new hires would help the company innovate in ways that appealed to female Etsy users, they were surprised to find that the overall quality of work from their engineering department increased. On average, all engineers performed better, regardless of gender. Diversity can inspire and push all employees to achieve greater things, perhaps by getting them out of their comfort zones and forcing them to question their assumptions. Employees who have gotten stuck in inefficient processes may start to rethink their standard procedures.
Entrepreneurs quickly learn how fierce the competition is for talented workers in today’s marketplace. Research has shown that about two-thirds of employees say they value diversity at a company and think critically about it when considering a job offer. In other words, diversity helps a company attract the best minds in their industry by creating a more desirable work environment. Furthermore, when new employees join the company, they bring their own connections and business networks to the position. In this way, a diverse workforce ultimately creates a more diverse extended network that the company can tap into. This makes it easier to find the best person for a position.