“There’s a pure and simple business case for diversity: Companies that are more diverse are more successful.” Mindy Grossman
You walk into a store and find a great shirt you want.
The color is just perfect!
You check to see the size and the label says: One Size Fits All.
Jackpot! No hassle trying it out for size! That’s just great! 🙂
Those 4 magic words! One. Size. Fits. All.
Oh, the all-inclusive phrase!
But, is that how it works in business? All-inclusive?
We have all heard the various stories about lack of diversity in the workplace and seen the same narrative repeat itself, over and over again.
Reach the required number of employees from different races, genders, etc. in your company and you are good to go! Right? Wrong!
It’s not a numbers issue, it’s a people issue.
Let me explain…
“Diversity in the workplace” – the eternal debate!
Actually it is not a debate, it’s a reality.
A reality that spreads itself in different ways and aspects.
Whether gender, race, religion, generation, culture, etc. companies need to focus more on diversity and give more value to it as people are not the same and that is a good thing 🙂
People have different points of view, ideas, creativity, skills, backgrounds, experiences and ways of approaching challenges, situations and life in general!
This sparks rich and engaging conversations that add to company goals and help in having a broader understanding of a situation as well as the needs of a company to then successfully structure and execute a business plan or action.
A great informational and strategic source you can tap into as a company!
You might be thinking, wouldn’t it be chaos to have to deal with so many different opinions and varied approaches to a specific task or situation? Wouldn’t it create conflict?
Ah, the magic word, ‘conflict’!
The way I see it, the answer here is that if you as a company support, advocate and instill a work environment, culture and ethic that promotes mutual respect and acceptance then no matter how diverse the company human resources and the resulting disagreement, the negative will become positive.
I am not saying that the differences won’t be there or even that conflict is not a possibility. What I am saying is that with the right foundation, adoption of a common purpose and a welcoming principle of respect, understanding and integration the positives will outweigh the negatives.
This made me think of the different factors that can play a role in the positive and successful aspect of diversity in a company.
In a March 2017 Inc.com article written by Ian Altman, (which focuses on a study by Tom Webster – Vice-president of strategic marketing for Edison Research – and discussed in their interview in Altman’s Grow My Revenue Business Cast), 5 basic reasons are proposed as to why diversity is important in the workplace (if not imperative, in my opinion) and how corporate America needs to deal with and handle the issue of lack of diversity to broaden its options and opportunities.
In his article, Altman suggests the 5 benefits to diversity in business to be Creativity, Innovation, Consumer Understanding, Brainstorming and Decision Making.
Specifically, he states that:
Increased Creativity A diversity of ideas and viewpoints can lead to creative breakthrough. A company made up of employees from diverse ethnic backgrounds, generations, genders, races and religions (just to name a few) has more creative energy to harness than one with a more homogenized workforce.
Foster Innovation Different practices that arise from having lived in a foreign country or speaking a foreign language or practicing a certain religion can lead to innovative products like Nike’s new “Pro Hijab”, a lightweight, breathable headcover for female Muslim athletes.
Better Consumer Understanding If you don’t have somebody with a diverse viewpoint in your boardroom then you very likely don’t have your finger on the pulse of a demographic group you purport to serve if somebody’s not advocating for that position.
“If you don’t have those voices in your research…you’re denying yourself the potential opportunity to explore different markets that you’re not even thinking about,” Webster says.
Richer Brainstorming A diversity of opinions, ideas and input can lead to richer, more productive discussions during brainstorming sessions. In contrast, an environment where everyone’s opinions mirror each other has a high probability of producing stagnant results.
“(That) kind of homophily of mindset and the feedback you get in brainstorming sessions…is a really dangerous thing for any company,” Webster says.
Better Decision Making Diverse perspectives lead to better decisions — for your company, your employees and your customers.
“5 Reasons Why Workplace Diversity Is Good For Business”, Inc.com written by Ian Altman
Of course, there are many more benefits to diversity and all those characteristics have as a common denominator the power of coming together, dissecting and exchanging our core differences so as to better understand and have a broader, more complete and open approach to any situation, strategy, etc.
The ideal as a company is to be truly open to diversity without bias or judgement and to welcome the different perspectives, ideas, creative approaches, beliefs, experiences, etc. from employees – allowing for them to be creative and proactive by actively supporting and helping the business (and themselves) to grow!.
As stated by Altman in his article:
“As technology advances and businesses become more globalized, creating a truly diverse organizational culture that incorporates basic human principles and fosters diversity of ideas and perspectives is not just good for employees, Webster argues. It’s good for business.”
In my opinion, although improvements have been made there’s still work to be done for businesses to really become ‘One Size Fits All’ and be all-inclusive were workplace diversity is concerned 🙂
Would love to hear your thoughts on this topic in the comment section!
Good vibes only and have a great day!
“The path to diversity begins with supporting, mentoring, and sponsoring diverse women and men to become leaders and entrepreneurs.” Denise Morrison
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Excellent post, Natasha! Company culture is key to a brand, and when you have the right team advocating and promoting diversity you will be successful in the business world. It doesn’t matter how big your company is, it can even be a one man band. I’m a solo entrepreneur and I developed my own company culture. No “one size fits all” for sure!
Thank you so much Sabrina for your feedback! Company culture is key and by creating an all-inclusive one you essentially are broadening the foundation of your business and brand!
I agree totally Natasha, one size never fits all it often means a brand is not looking to develop and evolve alongside it’s consumers or audience by listening and learning from them. We are always stronger learning together and bringing in people who have skills and experience to learn from – anyone or brand who thinks they know will always be thinking and not able to say at one point that they do know something based on specific evidence and experience.
No barriers or borders has always been what I suggest whether physical or in the mind those two things make for exclusion not inclusion and the world needs to evolve with everyone in mind – from that point we can scale up or down to see how that can benefit our lives.
Thank you for your feedback Mark! Good points raised here and yes, I agree, we are stronger together and by being inclusive 😊
What a great post, Natasha! As someone who has experienced a few different cultures, I cannot tell you how important diversity is. Growing up in China within a collectivist environment and then coming to the US to pursue graduate school and then working in the US, i cannot tell you how MUCH our cultures influence and shape our identity, reality, and way of thinking. When you embrace diversity at your orgs, you are actually enabling a different viewpoint that challenges what we take for granted and allows us to see the world differently. To me, that different perspective is what gives birth to creativity and innovation. Just my two cents here.
Hey Ai! Thank you so much for your comment! Indeed from having people in your companies that have different cultural backgrounds you are opening up and broadening your company’s spectrum and views on approaches to challengers and opportunities. As you say, it “allows us to view the world differently”. 😊