The workplace is changing rapidly and is becoming increasingly diverse in many ways; through culture, age, race and gender. But, more often than not, the true benefits of diversity are overlooked. A diverse workforce leads to increased levels of employee engagement, boosts in revenue of up to 19 percent, and attracts the highest percentage of job seekers. Why? Because diverse teams lead to more creative, innovative and collaborative workspaces.
It is only by bringing together individuals from all walks of life, with different lived experiences of the world around us, that organizations achieve the true diversity of thought that is needed to drive modern businesses forward. But why are diverse teams so impactful in modern business? There are three clear reasons:
Reason 1: A more enriched working environment
Diverse teams create organizations that are more enriched. Each individual has their own opinions, culture and history, and bringing those experiences together creates an organizational culture in and of itself. These types of working environments – that open their arms wide to individuals from all walks of life – allow employees to show up to work as their true self. It allows them to bring fresh ideas to the table and challenge the status quo, without fear of rebuttal. These diverse and inclusive working environments allow employees to feel safe, respected and connected at work, which ultimately leads to a stronger sense of community and belonging, and boosts employee engagement.
Reason 2: Challenges lead to innovation
Bringing together a group of very different people, with very different ideas, sends shivers down the spines of many team leaders. Images of arguments, disgruntled employees and turmoil spring to mind. But we’re sure this mindset would change if these leaders realized that such instances of friction and challenging one another result in true innovation. Without these situations, what would encourage us to change from the way we’ve always done things?
In fact, leading organizations across the globe attribute diversity of thought, opinions and people as the key to innovative success. Not least Alex Gorsky, CEO & Chairman of Johnson & Johnson who said: “[we have] learned through 132 years of experience that true innovation is seldom the work of solitary genius. Rather, it is the result of collaboration enriched by diverse opinions, approaches and experiences.”
Reason 3: Top talent cares about DEI
Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are at the top of most business agendas right now – and there’s one simple reason for this. Top talent truly cares about these initiatives, and actively seeks out employers who genuinely prioritize diversity. In fact, according to a report from PwC, 86% of women and 74% of men actively seek employers with diversity and inclusion strategies in place. So, to ensure that your organization has the best, high-performing talent on the books, you need to ensure DEI are a top priority.
And heed our warning here: it’s not enough to pay lip service to this crucial topic. Your current employees are paying attention, too. In fact, nearly half of employees believe their company needs to be more diverse and 13% of employees confess to keeping tabs on when, and how often, senior management speak about DEI in meetings.
For any impactful team, you need great leaders
In fact, all leaders – including senior management – have a critical role to play in creating diverse and impactful teams. But without good leadership, your diverse teams will not reach their full potential. Because of the variety of ideas, thoughts and feelings, leaders of diverse teams need to be able to manage conflict and create an environment where all team members feel equally respected and valued. Plus, leaders need to be able to communicate effectively and help team members understand each other. Because the truth is, without good leadership, diverse teams might have difficulty working together effectively.
In an increasingly complex workplace, organizations need to ensure that leaders are more agile and relevant - particularly when leading through volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) situations. Without empathetic, trustworthy and inspiring leadership your teams will not reach their full potential, diverse or otherwise.
To learn more about how to prepare leaders to become more agile and relevant in tomorrow’s increasingly volatile environment, download our new white paper that explores the top 6 trends in leadership development.