In the ultra competitive business environment of 2021/22, companies need to seek every available opportunity to stay one step ahead of the pack. Gone are the days of simply providing a good quality product or service at a competitive price – today, businesses need to be increasingly inward-looking to find ways of improving productivity and brand recognition.
Employee inclusion and diversity is a great way of achieving exactly that. Businesses that promote, celebrate and leverage a diverse workforce can achieve more benefits than you might have realized. They find themselves with a more motivated, productive and creative team, with consequences that go directly to the bottom line.
Here we take a look at why workplace diversity and inclusivity is something your business cannot afford to ignore.
There are sufficient carrots to encourage any company to pursue a strategy of diversity in the workplace, that sticks barely need to come into it, but we should just mention that the last thing your organization wants to do is fall foul of anti-discrimination legislation.
The penalties are painful enough, but these pale into insignificance when compared to the damage a discrimination lawsuit can do to your company’s reputation.
The University of Florida published some recent research which found that a diverse and inclusive workforce is happier and more motivated. Improved morale meant that workers felt inspired to work longer, harder and better. It is not a major leap of faith – if you enjoy your workplace surroundings and the company of your co-workers, you are going to put more enthusiasm into getting the job done well.
Why hire workers with a disability
It may come as a surprise, but individuals with disabilities are seen as a source of engaged and committed employees. In the U.S., about 1 in 8 people lives with some form of disability, as noted in the Disability Statistics Annual Report. And what’s even more surprising is that companies that have incorporated employees with disabilities have seen two times higher net income and 28% higher revenue, according to an Accenture report. These are just some of the reasons why major networks, like CPFN (Cerebral Palsy Family Network) and well-known companies around the world, like StartBucks, are in favor of hiring individuals with special needs.
Studies by a California-based specialist in ethnic diversity concluded that the different perspectives of a diverse workforce bring new approaches to problem solving and working practices. This can revolutionize not only what a business does, but the way it does it, with some potentially significant impacts on sales, profits and market share.
We have mentioned the reputational risk of getting it wrong, but there is an equal and opposite benefit to getting it right. Consciously or otherwise, customers see a business with a diverse workforce as ethical, trustworthy and the sort of outfit with which they want to do business. Potential employees see things the same way, meaning a better opportunity to pick the cream of the crop.
A win-win strategy
Staying legal, improving productivity, increasing creativity and enhancing your brand image – no wonder so many organizations are embracing a strategy of diversity in the workplace. You would be mad not to join them.