How important is diversity at work? Is it really necessary to hire a diverse team? What does it mean to be diverse?
The workplace has become increasingly diverse over time. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of women working full-time jobs increased from 67% in 1980 to 77% in 2016. This trend has also affected the workforce in terms of racial diversity. For example, the percentage of Black workers in businesses increased from 6% in 1980 to 13% in 2017.
Diversity is essential to a successful organization. It helps companies attract talented individuals who bring new perspectives and ideas to the table. At the same time, it helps organizations retain their existing talent and build stronger teams.
In this article, we will discuss the importance of diversity in the workforce and why it matters. We’ll also look into how diversity can help your business grow and thrive.
Why Diversity Matters
First off, let’s talk about what diversity means. According to Merriam-Webster, “diverse” means “of or relating to many kinds; characterized by variety; not uniform: as, a diverse collection of books.”
When you think about it, diversity is all around us. This is because diversity is becoming an integral part of our society. People want to live in communities where they feel accepted and valued. They want to go to diverse schools to learn and share the world's cultures. And they want workplaces that are inclusive and welcoming.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the majority of Americans (62%) say that having a diverse community makes life better. The same study found that people with higher levels of education were more likely to agree that diversity made life better.
So, if diversity is so important, then why do some companies still struggle to create a diverse workforce? There are several reasons for this. First, there may be a lack of understanding on how to implement diversity initiatives effectively. Second, there may be a fear of losing employees due to discrimination. Third, there may be the misconception that diversity is expensive. Finally, there may be a reluctance to change the culture of the company.
Let’s take a closer look at each one of these issues.
1) Lack of Understanding
One reason why diversity programs fail is because they don't have a clear plan. You need to know exactly what you're trying to achieve before you start implementing any kind of program. Otherwise, you'll end up wasting resources and money without getting anything out of it.
For example, if you're looking to increase the number of female hires, but you don't know what steps to take to make sure that happens, you might spend a lot of time and effort only to find out that no progress was made.
2) Fear of Discrimination
Another common problem is that people are afraid of being discriminated against when they try to implement diversity programs. Unfortunately, this is often the case. Many people believe that diversity programs are discriminatory and therefore, they won’t participate.
However, this isn't true. A recent survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers showed that most employers support diversity efforts. In fact, 84% of employers said that to create positive change, they are in favour of hiring someone from a group that has historically been underrepresented in the workplace.
3) Misconception That Diversity Is Expensive
A third issue is that people assume that diversity programs are expensive. This is simply not true. In fact, studies show that diversity programs actually save businesses money. For example, a study published in Harvard Business Review found that companies that had adopted a diversity strategy saw their profits grow by as much as 15%. When your company is more diverse, you have a more diverse range of talent, and can problem solve more effectively.
4) Culture Change
Finally, another reason why diversity programs fail to succeed is because they don't address the underlying cultural barriers that exist within organizations. These barriers can include unconscious bias, stereotypes, and other negative attitudes towards certain groups.
If your organization doesn't understand or acknowledge its own biases, then it will never be able to successfully implement diversity programs. Taking the first step to acknowledging that there needs to be a change in culture must happen, so that you can start to rebuild a more diverse workplace.
To sum things up, diversity is important. It helps build stronger teams, which ultimately leads to better business results. However, if you want to see real success with diversity programs, you need to ensure that you have a good understanding of what you're trying to accomplish, and that you're not afraid of making changes to your current culture.