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16th Jan, 2024

Craig Lewis
Craig Lewis
Job Title
Senior Content Writer

A greater variety of opinions, increased innovation and improved retention are among the advantages of diversity in the workplace. 

The benefits of diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace can help organisations develop robust talent acquisition strategies and futureproof them for continued success. 

Whether by promoting age diversity, celebrating neurodiversity, or providing a welcome space to those of different genders, ethnicities or sexual orientation, companies which promote diversity will prosper and grow. 

What is a diverse and inclusive workforce? 

The benefits of a diverse workforce are myriad, but before analysing exactly what they are, it is important to clearly define what makes a diverse and inclusive workforce. 

Diversity at work means employing people of different genders, cultures, ages, ethnicities, sexual orientations, religions, and education levels. 

An organisation is inclusive when all its employees are treated equally and with respect. Everyone should have access to the same resources, training and opportunities. 

Inclusive companies will not simply hire candidates for the sake of diversity but will understand why diversity and inclusion is important in the workplace, and the different perspectives and value a diverse workforce adds. 

Why you should encourage diversity and inclusion? 

Creating a workforce which includes people from a variety of cultures, backgrounds and lifestyles is one of the biggest pros of diversity in the workplace. 

Organisations which are more representative of society will have access to a wider range of talent, leading to greater productivity, a stronger company culture, and better retention. 

Greater inclusivity makes employees feel comfortable and safe, meaning they will be more likely to put forward unique ideas, helping to stimulate growth and increase profitability. 

Research by consultants McKinsey & Company shows organisations with a diverse workforce are 35% more likely to have higher financial returns than non-diverse ones.

Benefits of a diverse and inclusive workforce

When looking at why diversity and inclusion is important in the workplace, organisations should concentrate on eight key areas that will bring benefits: 

Enhanced innovation and creativity: 

One of the key pros of diversity in the workplace is its power to increase creativity. Thinking outside the box brings fresh ideas and innovation. These new ways of working are more likely to come from a workforce with a variety of life experiences that is prepared and able to challenge the orthodoxy. The net result is increased innovation, productivity, reputation, engagement, and creativity. 

Faster problem solving and decision-making:

Diverse teams will naturally reduce the reliance of standard approaches to problem solving. In an inclusive environment, teamwork and co-operation will thrive leading to increased productivity. 

This improved decision-making fosters greater and faster change, contributing directly to an organisation’s bottom line.  

Access to a broader talent pool: 

One of the benefits of a diverse workforce is that organisations will have a wider talent pool to pick from, meaning they have a higher chance of recruiting the ideal candidate.

Companies which have a diverse workplace are often seen as better employers, making them more attractive to top talent. A diverse workforce brings a variety of perspectives and ideas, leading to more creative solutions and innovative products, while candidates want to work for organisations which are accepting and tolerant of people from all backgrounds.  

Higher employee engagement and performance:

Diversity and inclusion in the workplace allow employees to be their authentic selves, meaning they will be happier and more productive.  

The alternative is an organisation where everyone thinks in the same way, or where people have to rein themselves in to toe a party line. This can create a potentially toxic environment, where employees don’t feel confident enough to express how they really feel or to put forward fresh ideas.  

This leads to people looking for new job opportunities, increasing staff turnover and hiking up recruitment costs.  

The importance of diversity in the workplace is that it creates an environment where employees want to stay at an organisation, work harder and help it prosper.  

Better customer understanding: 

The more diverse a business’ workforce is, the more able they will be to market themselves to different groups of people. 

A range of opinions can help organisations understand and counter any cultural differences that could otherwise hamper growth in an increasingly global marketplace, meaning having a workforce which is reflective of its customer base is a huge advantage for any business, leading to increased innovation and productivity.

The tangible benefits of an organisation working to make sure the demographics of their staff mirrors their customer base can be seen in the work Reed Talent Solutions conducted alongside EE. By tapping into different sources of talent, the project was able to significantly change the diversity of EE’s hires, with the average age of those brought onboard more than 20 years above their standard level.  

Enhanced employer brand reputation: 

Businesses that thrive in the modern world need to have a positive employer brand, and one surefire way of achieving this is by embracing diversity and inclusion.  

A company with a diverse workforce will benefit from being forward-thinking and will be considered as a brand people want to work with. This can, in turn, boost staff recruitment and business growth.  

Innovation in talent management: 

Embedding inclusion and diversity into any talent management strategy brings huge advantages. One of the key pros of diversity in the workplace is that it fosters the development of new ideas. 

Showcasing your organisation’s inclusive and diverse culture has never been more important. With companies battling in the same talent pools, having a diverse and inclusive culture will set you in good stead to attract the very best talent. 

Talking about the Inclusion at Work 2022 report, jointly produced by Reed and the CIPD, the latter organisation’s Senior Policy Adviser, Dr Jill Miller, said: “A diversity of perspectives can promote innovation and creativity, and there are consequent benefits for the customer or service user in terms of inclusive service delivery and product development.”  

Leverage in the boardroom: 

Boardrooms are still largely dominated by white males. A 2022 study from Cranfield University showed ten companies in the FTSE 100 have 30% or less female representation. It also found that out of the 413 directorships held by women across the FTSE 100, just nine were CEOs, 18 were Chairs, and 377 were non-executive directors.  

Boardrooms need to reflect society and the changing demographics within it. The advantages of equality, diversity and inclusion in the workplace are just as relevant in the c-suite as they are among the rank and file.   

How to create a more diverse workplace 

The benefits of a diverse workforce can be tapped into by implementing strategies and resources which make all employees feel valued. 

Celebrate differences in the workplace: 

Implementing policies to show a company is committed to inclusion and diversity demonstrates that it is not simply paying lip service to buzzwords. These can include policies on recruitment and selection, flexible working, dignity at work, and inclusion.  

It is then important to not only honour these policies, but to celebrate the differences among your diverse workforce. This can be done by creating a diversity and inclusion committee, honouring different cultural holidays, or through diversity and inclusion training. 

Create resource groups: 

Resource groups centred around topics such as culture and race, religion or LGBTQ+ employees provide a useful way to help employees feel connected. 

These groups provide the opportunity for employees who share similar backgrounds to connect in a safe place. They can also be used to spread information to other employees, who will benefit from a greater understanding of their colleagues. 

Talk to your workforce: 

Organisations can only really take advantage of the benefits of a diverse workforce by listening to what they have to say. 

Holding regular brainstorming sessions, having an open-door policy and allowing online feedback are valuable ways of allowing everyone to have their say and feel represented. 

Success can only be achieved if everyone throughout the organisation embraces diversity and inclusion.

Educate leaders:  

If leaders within an organisation buy into the ethos of diversity and inclusion, this can have massive benefits.

Executives who lead by example by attending diversity and inclusion training, or holding meetings with the company’s diversity council, can inspire their staff.  

The power leaders within a company have means that when they practice workplace inclusion regularly, other employees will follow suit.  

Inclusive leaders create an environment where people can bring their whole selves to work and feel comfortable expressing their opinions and ideas, leading to increased engagement and productivity.   

Learn more about how an effective equality, diversity, inclusion and belonging (EDI&B) strategy can benefit your organisation by visiting our dedicated page. 

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