March 08, 2018 3:47 PM

Diversity and Why It's So Important in the Workplace

Diversity in the workplace is a hot topic and has been for quite some time now. However, while we’ve heard a lot of talk about companies implementing diversity initiatives we have yet to see any significant changes in global employment statistics. For example, only 20% of C-suite roles in the US are held by women. That’s a staggering statistic given that almost half of the US workforce are women. But diversity in the workplace doesn’t just revolve around gender.

What is diversity in the workplace?

Diversity in the workplace encompasses age, race, gender, cultural background, disabilities, and even education. Yes, that’s right, only hiring candidates from particular schools can also upset the dynamics of your workforce just as much as hiring only male or female candidates. A truly diverse workplace will include employees from a wide range of demographics, but it doesn’t necessarily have to include employees from all. However, it is important to include all demographics in your sourcing efforts giving equal opportunities to candidates from all backgrounds.

So why is it so important?

In our post on building a diverse talent pipeline, we talked about the three main benefits of diversity in the workplace. These were
 Better input and solutions from employees with different backgrounds and skills.
 More services to offer from a workforce with a broader range of talents.
 Improved productivity from a happier workforce.

But if we dig deeper, there are further benefits to creating an inclusive working environment.

A wider talent pool to source from

Think about it this way. If half of your candidates are women, but you only want to hire men, you’ve just eliminated 50% of your potential rock star employees right off the bat.

Or what if you had an incredibly talented candidate miss the cut because you decided that only candidates of a certain age qualified? When put like that it sounds quite ridiculous, but this is what often happens in the recruitment process if not intentionally, then through subconscious prejudice towards certain groups. This can easily be solved by having a clear policy on inclusion in the workplace and diversity targets for the interviewing stage at the very least.

A more culturally aware workforce

We now live and work in a global economy, and it’s not uncommon that employees have to deal with foreign markets. Whether you have clients from Asia or suppliers from South America, having employees that are culturally aware is a wonderful advantage. And the best way to create a culturally aware workforce is, of course, to hire people from different backgrounds. It may not always be possible, depending on your location and the candidates that apply, but it’s certainly worth making an effort to bring a variety of cultures into the workplace.

It opens doors to new markets

A more tangible benefit to a culturally diverse workforce is of course language. Employees that speak foreign languages can help your company break into new markets that were previously difficult to manage due to the language barrier. This particular benefit is without doubt one of the most advantageous from a financial perspective, and it’s why many hiring managers seek out candidates with a second or even third language.

More exposure to talents

As we mentioned earlier, a diverse workforce also includes people of different ages and with contrasting educational backgrounds. Putting such a diverse group working together increases each group’s exposure to the talents, attitudes, and experience of the other. For example, older employees may learn about tech from younger employees while newly graduated employees may pick up some nuggets of wisdom from the more experienced generation.

Are there any disadvantages to diversity in the workplace?

In a word, no.

There are, however, ‘perceived’ disadvantages which can sometimes affect a recruiter or hiring manager’s final decision on a candidate’s suitability for a role. The most common is the myth that a candidate will have ‘difficulty fitting in.’ Of course, this is a ridiculous notion, but it’s one that often pops into the mind of an interviewer now and then. Now, this is not to be confused with hiring for cultural fit which is when an employee’s morals, personality, and attitude are examined to determine if they will fit in with the company’s work culture. What we’re talking about here is the prejudicial thought that a person will not fit in because of their gender, race, or any of the other aspects of diversity that we mentioned earlier. And quite frankly, it’s laughable to think so and quite patronizing too. If a recruiter thinks that a candidate will have trouble settling in a work environment due to their race or gender, then there’s likely an inherent problem with the current staff’s attitudes which in itself, is quite worrying.

 

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Here at vsource, we’re proud to celebrate diversity, and we have a wonderfully diverse company family that includes the incredible talents of both men and women of contrasting backgrounds. And it’s this diversity of gender, culture, and talent that helped us create a product that can help our clients (that’s you) build candidate pipelines as diverse as our workforce.

So where is your company at right now with regards to diversity in the workplace? And what are you doing to foster an inclusive environment and build a diverse workforce? Are you actively seeking candidates from a variety of cultural backgrounds? Are you including those with disabilities in your sourcing efforts? Even if you’re doing all of the above we bet our sourcing consultants can help you bring in even better results; after all, it’s what they do. Drop us a line today and ask us about diversity sourcing and how we can help make your office an inclusive workplace.