A Culturally Diverse Workforce Could Be a Boon to Your Business
Entrepreneur's New Year’s Guide
Embracing diversity in your organization isn’t just the right thing to do. It may be good for your bottom line.
Each year, Diversity Inc. selects the organizations for its "Top 50 Companies for Diversity" list, and the organization's research shows that more diverse companies are more profitable: "Expressed as a stock market index," the 2014 winners that were public companies "beat the Dow Jones Industrial Average on a one-, three- and five-year basis," Luke Visconti, Diversity Inc.'s CEO, wrote.
At face value, it may seem like having a diverse staff is unrelated to powerful bottom-line results. But a company culture that values cultural diversity -- including racial, ethnic, language and religious diversity -- can translate directly into greater profits. That’s because diversity accomplishes the following:
Boosting marketing efforts: When you have a diverse workforce, diverse customers in your target market are more likely to trust your brand and feel comfortable doing business with your company.
Improving operations: Companies that value diversity have lower turnover and absenteeism, which reduces the costs spent on staffing.
In addition, when your culture embraces diversity, your employees are likely to be engaged and feel that their employer understands and respects them and their culture. And when your diversity-valuing company needs to recruit new workers, you have the chance to seek out employees with the highest potential, regardless of their race, culture or ethnicity.
Driving innovation: If members of your team look like and understand the people in diverse target markets, they are perhaps better able to design and deliver products and services that meet the needs of these potential customers.
If you want to take advantage of the powerful business advantages that diversity can offer, here are three tips for doing so:
1. Foster an attitude of openness.
Even if your workforce is not yet very diverse, encourage staffers to be open-minded and appreciate the perspectives of people different from them.
Prompt employees to express their ideas and opinions and be sure you set an example of attributing value to all ideas. Don’t allow negative or degrading talk about other groups.
2. Actively seek to hire a diverse range of workers.
When you’re hiring for a new position, make a conscious effort to look beyond your personal network or the graduates from the college nearby. Seek candidates who look, act and think differently from you and other staffers. By casting a wider net, you’ll be more likely to find qualified employees who will be a good fit for the company and you can start enjoying the benefits of having a diverse team.
3. Offer training.
Regardless of whether you take advantage of a formal diversity-training program, begin opening the eyes of staffers to the value of workers with a variety of backgrounds. Bring in guest speakers from a variety of cultures, ethnicities and industries to share what their varying perspectives bring to the business table.