When you imagine a diverse and inclusive workplace, what springs to mind? Is it teams that are represented by equal numbers of men and women, women in senior leadership roles, and people from varying ethnicities, physical abilities and age groups?
One’s sexual orientation and religious beliefs aren’t as visible, however when differences are embraced and celebrated, people know that they can bring their full selves to work each day.
Australia is growing and changing. Leaders and organisations are changing with it as part of their business, and they’re all the greater for it.
Here are some benefits that come from creating a diverse and inclusive culture:
When we collaborate with people who are different from us, it sparks creativity and thought leadership. Bringing together cross-sections of knowledge, information, perspectives and ideas will have your teams brimming with leading designs, technologies and applications. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey nailed it when he said, “any time you bring together diverse perspectives, it just creates a bunch of potential that you weren’t really expecting.”
Shining stars become your staff
Candidates from diverse backgrounds want to see that they’ll fit into your company. If you’re actively trying to recruit diverse candidates, and showing that you embrace and celebrate diversity, you have better chances at securing your industry’s best and the brightest. US business leader Neil Lenane summarised it perfectly when he said, “if you do not intentionally include, you unintentionally exclude”. Addressing quotas is a small part of this. If diversity and inclusion is a genuine part of the culture, your staff will likely stick with you for longer too.
Capturing more of your market
Recruiting and retaining a diverse group of employees shows everyone you echo the world around us. What better way to meet the needs of the whole market place than with diverse teams who reflect the customers and communities they serve. As a small example, when designing and building a women’s health app, a group of diverse women programmers are more equipped to bring real life insights along with their expertise to the platform. If they’re on your team already, you’re ahead of the game.
Shifting attitudes and abandoning stereotypes
Thinking beyond strategic obligations, attitudes and beliefs are defining influences because your policies and action plans are only as good as the staff who live them. Learning about different lifestyles and cultures through social events, acknowledging a range of culturally significant festivities, staff storytelling opportunities are ways to bring teams together to learn and understand. More awareness and tolerance, who doesn’t want more of that!
“Strength lies in differences, not in similarities” Stephen R Covey
Staff who come to work and know they are empowered and valued, their organisations are instinctively rewarded with innovative solutions, broader customer appeal, happy staff, and better financial performance.
It’s not without challenges though, and I’ll be sharing more about this, and ways to create a diverse and inclusive workplace culture, in future blogs.
Article Written by Jade Bennett, who is the Founder & Director of Middleton executive