Workplace diversity is a major concern for employers these days. More and more companies now have Chief Diversity Officers responsible for managing entire groups focused on diversity initiatives.
These efforts are well founded.
According to ScientificAmerican.com, “simply interacting with individuals who are different forces group members to prepare better, to anticipate alternative viewpoints and to expect that reaching consensus will take effort.” It makes us collectively smarter, more engaged and more dynamic while challenging the notion of groupthink.
Diversity in the workplace unlocks innovation, drives market growth and also spurs creativity.
Professor Roy Y.J. Chua says: “The more your network includes individuals from different cultural backgrounds, the more you will be creatively stimulated by different ideas and perspectives.”
Dan Schawbel, Personal Branding & Millennial Expert, argues diversity in the workplace is just as important in small business as well – offering four key reasons.
It builds your employer brand. Having a diverse workforce makes your company more interesting, people can expect to learn more from your employees and you can attract better talent from around the world. With a diversified workforce, you stand a better chance of attracting different types of people that wouldn’t normally apply for positions at your company. A company that has a strong diversity program will have a good reputation because it will be seen as having fair employment practices.
It increases creativity. When you bring a variety of different people from various backgrounds together, you’ll end up getting better solutions to business problems. If you don’t have a diverse workplace, you might not be able to tackle problem the best way. For instance, if you have no Asian employees and you’re trying to sell to the Asian market, it will be much more difficult for you. You can search on Wikipedia all day long, but having someone who is actually part of that culture is a great advantage.
It encourages personal growth. Employees, especially younger ones, are striving to use their corporate experience to learn and grow their careers. This is a major advantage to workplace diversity because it can help employees learn new ideas, perspectives and connect intellectually and personally to different people. This encourages employees to become more well-rounded and have a better sense of the working world.
It makes employees think more independently. If you have similar people at a company, it will be harder to solve complex problems. One study by Katherine Phillips, a professor at Kellogg, shows that even adding one employee from a different background can get people out of their comfort zones and thinking different about a situation.
Given the clear benefits – employers are starting to ask how to go about building a more diverse workforce.
One answer may lie in how you allocate your employee benefit dollars.
While all respondents indicated a preference for student loan repayment as a benefit, The Millennial Benefits Preferences Study revealed that female respondents and respondents of minority ethnicity showed a stronger preference when compared to their white peers. This stronger preference, coupled with the higher prevalence of student loan debt amongst this population, has led many employers to introduce student loan repayment plans in order to help drive diversity in the workplace initiatives.
Access the research and data behind these initiatives by downloading the Millennial Benefits Preferences Study today.