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What does Diversity Mean and Why is it so Important?

Diversity

I doubt many people would argue against hiring a diverse workforce. This is especially true for those who have fallen foul of the ‘echo chamber’ effect of only hiring those with similar backgrounds and views as themselves.

However, it remains a difficult thing to do – to source people with diverse backgrounds and experiences without inadvertently creating a bubbling pot of frustration.

When brought together effectively, a diverse workforce can problem solve quicker than a non-diverse group. They can work together, brainstorm and perform exceptionally well. It’s the holy grail of recruitment.

But what does diversity really mean?

Diversity in the workplace means consciously hiring people of different genders, religions, ethnicities, ages, sexualities and classes.

But more than that, it means hiring individuals with a variety of different experiences and work histories. You want employees who come from businesses that work in different ways to yours.

This is desirable because people with a range of experiences and lifestyles bring different things to the ideas pool.

So, what’s the prize for capitalising on diversity?

#1. Faster Problem-Solving, Creativity & Innovation

Groups of diverse thinkers tend to bring a broader range of ideas to the mix. While this might mean decisions take a little longer to come to, it usually means there is greater creativity and innovation. Ultimately, you get a more rounded understanding of the problem and how to solve it.

#2. A Culture of Exploration

When a group of people think and act in similar ways, it discourages outliers from wanting to stick their neck out. When an organisation has a clear tendency toward one set of views, no one wants to be seen as a troublemaker.

Conversely, when a team encourages different views and ideas (a culture of problem exploration), people are happy to state their true beliefs and make compelling, honest arguments. The result, as demonstrated by a Harvard Business Review study, is higher performance all round.

#3. Marginalised Groups feel Empowered

Diversity means that people with different experiences and backgrounds have equal footing in the decision-making process.

Empowering those who have historically been left out of high-level decision-making brings new perspectives to old problems. It also helps to address economic inequalities in the wider society.

#4. Higher Engagement, Higher Retention

Engaged and valued employees tend to stay longer in jobs than those who feel their voice isn’t heard or considered.

Creating a positive, diverse culture, where employees can engage and make a difference, leads to higher retention and happier staff. This can only ever be a positive step toward a growing, thriving business.

#5. Brand & Reputation get a Boost

Your employees are your greatest advocates. Therefore, by creating a diverse, exciting workplace, you’ll start to attract more of the same. Diversity breeds diversity. Innovation breeds innovation.

Your reputation as an employer, as well as a brand for others to engage and work with, benefits from prioritising diversity.

I hope you’ve learned a little today about the benefits of hiring outside the box and encouraging both cultural and intellectual diversity in your workforce.

The Sales Manager are a sales training, recruitment and telemarketing company based in Northampton. To get in touch with any questions or to speak to us about any of our services, call 01604 532004 or email julie@thesales-manager.co.uk.

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