The issue of diversity at work used to be mostly about equal rights, equal pay, and equal opportunities regardless of gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation -- and to some extent, it still is. But today, many companies have understood that it's more than that: Having a diverse staff is actually a sound business case. In other words: Even if the only thing you care about is the bottom line, you should embrace diversity as diverse teams are more productive than teams where members are very similar to each other.
Of course, as a Human Resources professional, you don't have to be persuaded that diversity is important. But maybe you need a handy mix of arguments for your discussions with the management team -- here are six reasons why diversity is something worth paying attention to.
1. Employee retention If you show your employees that you respect them as who they are and only evaluate them according to their performance at work, they are more likely to be happy at work -- and therefore more likely to stay on board.
2. Reduced absenteeism The causes for absenteeism are manifold -- but more often than not, negative emotions such as feeling excluded, discriminated against, bullied, or disadvantaged contribute to those causes. Having a corporate culture that celebrates diversity helps avoid discrimination and therefore stress and other mental problems.
3. Recruitment If you are open-minded about candidates and only care about their talent and their attitude towards work regardless of their age, gender, or ethnicity, you automatically get a much larger talent pool and don't miss out on highly skilled professionals.
4. Productivity Numerous studies have shown that diverse teams perform better than teams with very similar types of people: Diverse employees contribute different skills, ideas, perspectives, and methodologies, thus enhancing processes and boosting innovation.
5. PR Being an employer that celebrates diversity is good for your employer brand -- and your overall image. And since your customers are likely to be a diverse group of people, this can have a positive impact on customer satisfaction and sales as well.
6. Legal disputes When you make sure all of your employees are getting the same opportunities and that you try to address individual needs (e.g. high-contrast screen settings for visually impaired employees), not only will you make your employees happy, but you will also lower the risk of discrimination or safety and health claims.
Embracing diversity should be a no-brainer for any company who wants to stay successful and competitive. Should you ever meet people who don't agree, we hope that this little list will help you to convince them.
Do you have questions? Or would you like to add something? Let us know in the comment box below.