Diversity in the workplace is a big talking point these days. Most agree that having an organization made up of diverse individuals with varying backgrounds is a crucial element of building a successful organization. So what exactly is diversity in the workplace? Diversity in the workplace can be defined as an organization that is made up of people with a myriad of different backgrounds. This could include peoples of different ages, religions, genders, races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, interests, hobbies, spoken languages, education levels, areas of concentration, socio-economic level, and the like. Essentially, diversity includes any factors that are unique in making us who we are as people. The advantages of having organizations made up of people with diverse backgrounds are numerous, and while this article is not an exhaustive list of the positive elements that come from having a diverse workplace, it discusses some of the major benefits that come with having diversity in your workforce.
Having a diverse workplace can be a catalyst for innovation. When an organization is made up of people with different backgrounds, these people often bring a perspective to problem solving. Different perspectives lead to an increase in ideas, creativity, and adaptability. This can help make your organization dynamic and forward thinking. An increase in differing perspectives can help your organization avoid “group-think” and provide a fresh look at how the organization operates.
Another benefit of a diverse workplace is that it permits increased community outreach opportunities. Having employees who speak multiple languages, for instance, increases the chances that employees will reach varying customer bases, and perhaps relate to a larger number of your current clients. An employee that is able to understand and effectively communicate with a customer is often able to better assist the client and achieve a positive result.
A diverse workforce can also be a positive catalyst for your organization’s reputation. Potential clients and employees will often view the organization’s focus on diversity as a favorable characteristic. This can result in better relationships with the public as well as business opportunities that you perhaps missed in the past.
By hiring and retaining a more diverse workforce, you are making an important statement. Emphasis on inclusiveness through diversity promotes a more interesting and dynamic workplace, and it may very well also boost your bottom line!
Author’s note: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.
Rick Blystone, Partner at Cotney Construction Law, is a Florida Bar Board Certified Specialist in Labor & Employment Law. Cotney Construction Law is an advocate for the roofing industry, General Counsel of NWIR, FRSA, NSA, TARC, TRI, RT3, WSRCA and several other local roofing associations. For more information, contact the author at 866.303.5868 or go to www.cotneycl.com.