Multiple studies have shown that diverse and inclusive cultures in workplaces have a competitive edge. The studies however have not shown if diversity is a causal reason for innovation, but there is certainly a strong correlation between diversity and innovation with economic performance. However, despite strong evidence of causation, one can offer a strong argument for why diversity leads competitive advantages over less diverse organizations. Here are a few possible causes for why diversity leads a competitive edge.
Better Communication and Openness to New Ideas
Having a diverse and inclusive culture requires openness and communication, with openness and communication comes a wealth of insights; personal, professional, creative, and pragmatic. With more voices and perspectives, the likelihood of an idea succeeding improves, the quality of the project, product, and ultimately the viability of the product when it is brought to market. The openness of an organization also allows leadership and employees, to spot problems with an idea, product, or project. It allows for a voice to disagree, based on trust and openness to opposing views. It primarily prevents silos and echoes chambers and as a result, improves the overall performance of an organization.
The Wealth of Different Experiences
Having a diverse and inclusive workplace brings with it, a wealth of experiences. Having employees with varied backgrounds, education, work experience, may help with innovation. With different backgrounds, different perspectives on projects and ideas are more varied that provide both creative and innovative solutions to solving problems. Have different voices in charge of finding solutions to the most troubling problems helps guaranteeing success.
Adaptability and Pivoting
Companies that are diverse allows for better adaptability when change is necessary, prudent, or game-changing. Companies that have more diversity amongst their leadership and teams have been determined to provide more revenue than those that do not. Overall financial performance improves when companies transition to a more diverse and inclusive culture. When serious issues arise in markets, a diverse group of voices allows for adaptability and the ability to rapidly pivot directions.
How Leadership Can Embrace Diversity
For leadership and upper management, it is highly prudent to embrace diversity and inclusion at every level of your organization. Some leadership might lack diversity, but they do not know where to start. First leadership is to embrace change and become more welcoming. Employee engagement is the first step, getting employee engagement right improves communication. The second step is to improve recruitment efforts, by looking for specific skills and opening positions up based on the key skills. This means, taking a long look at what skills are needed to succeed, and not necessarily the “experience”. What these means for leadership is to consider the similarities of skills across professions and open positions to people that have the skills but may lack the “experience” in a company’s industry. Another step is recruitment, recruitment needs to be varied, different universities need to be targeted. Recruiting is more than using job boards, utilize other means to recruit by advertising and highlighting your companies’ culture via social media, webpage, and twitter.
Diversity in Leadership Positions
The final and probably most beneficial place where diversity is necessary within leadership. To embrace leadership, you need to promote, train, and provide opportunities for employees to vie for leadership positions. Having a training program and performance management system to identify potential leaders early in their careers is crucial. Creating mentoring programs, continuing education, and internal opportunities to learn other positions will help with engagement while creating an inviting and welcoming environment. A diverse culture is inclusive, inviting, and welcoming, but its greatest strength is innovation and high performance. To manage the successes, performance, and communication using beepNow tools like beepHR will aid in creating better cultures and opportunities.