Strength lies in differences, not in similarities. – Stephen Covey
A wide range of skills is important in every business. Each company needs different departments that specialize in different fields. Much like skills, a variety of cultures also adds a desired dimension to businesses. This office diversity is vital to a business’ innovation and creativity, and it is something that human resources is both a curator and gatekeeper for.
Why is Diversity Important?
A diverse workplace empowers employees to show their own individuality, and in this encouraging environment, productivity, creativity and innovation thrives. A Forbes study found that workforce diversity and inclusion often drive innovation and business growth, and a Harvard Business School study showed that multicultural networks often promote increased creativity.
Ideas and Problem-Solving
A diverse workforce will offer different angles and solutions to a problem, and bring different perspectives that enable leaders to make well-informed decisions. People from different cultures will have uniquely valuable ideas. For example, someone who has lived in France for 10 years may point out that a traditional French holiday and event opportunity is coming up, and spur a marketing event surrounding the occasion. Multiple cultural point-of-views also ensure that ideas and problems are handled in a culturally sensitive way.
Skills and Talents
People from different backgrounds will bring different talents to the table. Someone who is a former teacher brings years of experience in instruction and education, whereas someone who used to work for a newspaper would have a wealth of knowledge about editing processes and media standards. A diverse workforce makes it more likely for someone in the office to have the skills and expertise needed in almost any situation.
Languages and Communication
Communication is vital in today’s quickly globalizing world, and having a multilingual workforce makes it much more likely for your company to effectively communicate with multiple target audiences. For example, if you’re holding an event where some of the population speaks English, and others speak Filipino, it is a good idea to produce promotional materials in both languages. To do this, you will need copywriters and editors who are fluent in each language.
Inclusion and Brand Protection
According to Neil Lenane, a Business Leader of Talent Management at Progressive, “if you do not intentionally include, you unintentionally exclude.” Alienating a potential client because of a lack of diversity and cultural awareness results in lost profit and damaged brand image.
How Can HR Encourage Diversity?
HR does the hiring, meaning they are able to introduce diversity to the workplace by consciously assessing people for a variety of different backgrounds, experience and cultures. According to Forbes Insights, “as companies compete on a global scale, diversity and inclusion frequently have to shift, as different markets and different cultures have varied definitions of what diversity means.” How can HR ensure that a business stays diverse and competitive in the industry?
- Hire candidates with different backgrounds and life experiences.
- Hire individuals with different philosophies and a variety of outlooks.
- Hire individuals complementary but different personalities from existing employees.
- Hire candidates from different ethnicities and have an equal gender balance.
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