The modern workplace is an evolving one, as many companies take steps towards improving the diversity and culture of openness among its employees. People from minority backgrounds, such as the LGBTQ community, can spend so much time and energy hiding aspects of who they are at work that there is little mental space left for their day-to-day roles. The remedy is simple: people who are free to be themselves are happier, and people who are happy at work are more productive.
Diversity is an important means of showing that your company is free of discrimination, though for some people, implementing a diversity programme can easily become a box-ticking exercise. Instead, you should strive to embed a culture of diversity across your entire company that allows workers to think and act freely. If you achieve this, you’ll enjoy a wealth of benefits that will help your businesses grow both internally and commercially:
Better Problem Solving
One of the biggest resources you’ll have with a diverse workforce is the wealth of different situations they have been through. Everyone has unique personal experiences and therefore can approach work with different priorities and techniques. Having a team of people from a variety of backgrounds at hand means you can gain their input and find solutions to problems you may never have considered before, opening opportunities for product innovation, reaching new audiences, and ultimately driving your business’ growth and success.
Supporting a workplace of diverse backgrounds is admirable though, realistically, you may not always know the needs of someone who is of a different age, ethnicity, or sexual orientation to you. Many companies empower their employees by having ‘diversity champions’, who can act as a point of contact for other workers and represent those from a specific background. This means that rather than a small management team trying to balance the needs and priorities of workers from all manner of backgrounds, there is a panel of representatives who can be consulted to ensure everything is balanced. Giving an employee this responsibility can make their time spent at work more personally rewarding and give them the confidence to take up greater responsibilities.
Improved Candidate Prospects
Companies should always be on the lookout for promising talent that they can take on and nurture into valuable assets. People with ambition, drive, and energy are important commodities, but some candidates from minority backgrounds can shy away from job opportunities if they feel they won’t be valued or supported by the company. A candidate who sees that your business is encouraging and inclusive of people from all backgrounds will not only have the confidence to be themselves during interviews, but also acclimate themselves to their new workplace faster if their application is successful. The sooner a new worker feels accepted, the quicker they’ll become an important member of your team.
Greater External Relationships
Committing to having a diverse workplace can spark a great amount opportunities for your business to work with external organisations. From local events to news publications, companies that highly value the equality of their staff are frequently celebrated in the hopes of inspiring other companies to do the same. Digital platforms also give you a massive chance to speak and work with influential vloggers who have grown a large online audience. Successful companies are personal and put real people behind their messages, so there’s no better way to show you’re committed to diversity than by appearing at events and working with organisations such as, Stonewall** and HOPE not hate,** who have inclusivity at their heart.
Broader Customer Appeal
A company’s marketing naturally influences the customers that it attracts, meaning if you keep your material diverse, your field of potential customers broadens too. By presenting yourself as a company that knows and values the priorities of people from different backgrounds, you instil a confidence in the mind of customers. Members of specific groups may have difficulties when buying in a specific industry, such as LGBTQ customers who must consider where they live and spend their holidays differently to straight customers. It’s a matter of making sure your openness and acceptance truly spreads throughout your business and customers of all backgrounds will notice.
About the Author: Simon Altham is the Managing Director at UK leading holiday provider Hoseasons, owned by Wyndham Worldwide. Simon took an early decision to be out in the workplace and sits on Wyndham Worldwide’s Global Diversity Council. Wyndham Worldwide is ranked 27th in the Diversity Inc. Top 50 Companies in the USA and has a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion amongst its over global 33,000 associates.