Workplace Diversity is quickly becoming an important part of companies everywhere. It's an indicator of how well businesses can adapt to new changes in the market. It’s an HR challenge that has a huge effect on not only your current employees but all future potential hires and candidates for years to come.
Diversity ultimately influences not only how employees perceive themselves, but also how they view and treat coworkers, managers, and customers. Implementing and properly managing diversity is vital to a healthy company culture and workplace unity as a whole.
A lot of companies will say that diversity is being very important to their company, however, many industries have a long way to go to actually implement diversity in their company. There are a few major companies that have actually been able to take diversity from being a concept and turning it into a reality.
Here are some examples of businesses doing their part to make a difference:
Some industries, like the tech industry, are predominantly white male and have been targeted for biased hiring and diversity issues. Facebook, though also predominantly male and white/Asian has been making strides to diversify their workforces.
They’ve implemented programs like Facebook University to encourage women and underrepresented minorities to learn programming and increase interest in computer science. Facebook has also restructured their interview process to allow more chances for diversity in the hiring process ensuring that underrepresented groups are considered for positions.
Nike was recently featured by fortune.com for disclosing their employee diversity percentages and having a majority of employees made up of racial and ethnic minorities. As of May 2016, over 51% of the entire company’s workers were not white. Nike’s gender equality is also on par with females making up 48% their workforce.
Nike’s CEO believes that “diversity fosters creativity and accelerates innovation” for the company. In a white-male dominated world, they are making huge steps to represent ethnic minorities, shrink pay gaps and equalize gender roles. Well done Nike!
Hilton is another global company that has a majority of minorities in the workforce. They make a point to work with not only diverse talent on their workforce, but also promote diversity with suppliers as well. Hilton has even implemented an outreach program to “educate minority and female entrepreneurs on becoming owners of Hilton properties”.
While most diversity efforts focus on gender or race, America’s second largest pharmaceutical company is doing something a little different. Walgreens focuses on hiring the disabled minority to foster an environment of inclusion. This program has had great results with about 10% of their distribution center now staffed by employees with disabilities.
The effects of this program have brought numerous benefits such as the safer workplaces and increased productivity. Studies also show that disabled workers have lower turnover and medical costs as well which really pays off big. Walgreens feels that this inclusion has enabled them to tap into a wider pool of talent and gain insights into their customer base.
Benefits of Diversity
Having employees from multiple diverse backgrounds opens the door to different experiences and skills that they have. With this diversity comes increased access to new ideas and creative solutions.
For example, employees from diverse backgrounds can creatively approach different situations resulting in new ideas for your company. Then other employees with diverse abilities take those execute those ideas and make them a reality. Employees can use their strengths to cover other’s weaknesses and everyone benefits from it, including the company.
Technology is making the world a smaller place meaning you will likely be doing business with people from different countries, cultures, and speaking different languages. There are over 300 languages spoken in the US alone! Increasing your company's diversity can allow you to broaden the service you provide to make it available on a global level.
Weaknesses of not having Diversity
Besides not having access to all of the benefits listed above, not focusing on diversity can actually harm your company. Un-diverse companies run the risk of “tunnel vision” where tradition trumps all and options are not explored making them unable to adapt to changing markets.
Furthermore, being exclusive increases the chance for internal problems which negatively affect your company’s culture. An unhappy work environment will make your employees less likely to give referrals and candidates less likely to apply to your company.
Most recently, Uber has been the target of lawsuits related to problems that arose from issues with lack of gender diversity. This largely male company has had a lot of complaints about sexual harassment and discrimination. Further investigations revealed legal and ethical scandals which resulted in severe repercussions to the company’s image. All of this led to reduced customer trust and Uber’s CEO was forced to resign.
Diversity goes hand in hand with increased trust and preventing something like what happened at Uber by improving your company’s transparency and accountability. Having a diverse leadership and management can open up awareness to these problems before they happen and resolve them before it happens.
To conclude, we just want to add one more company doing their part to increase diversity in the workplace:
As a company with employees from multiple ethnic backgrounds, ProSky employees speak a variety of different languages and work in areas all around the world. It’s definitely opened our company to new possibilities and helped us grow in exciting ways. We're doing our best to help companies staff their employees with the best and most diverse talent available.
When you make diversity a priority, your employees will feel it. Knowing that the company makes an effort to ensure everybody feels included and comfortable is going to do wonders for your culture, morale, and productivity. Employees will have increased respect for each other and loyalty to the company for building an environment of growth.
Diversity is more than just an idea, it’s a way of life and should be incorporated into your company’s culture today! For more diversity tips, subscribe to our blog!