The idea of diversity in the workforce has been a Human Resource conversation for many years, reaching an all-time high within the last year or so because of societal events going on around the world. The discussions of how to make the corporate world look different from the typical executive photos we see every day is becoming an every day, if not every minute decision companies have to make.
Due to the variety of skin tones, cultural practices, physical and mental abilities; many cities and states in America alone can account for how diversity should look; however, it is understood even in the 21st century that many companies are just now adding a variety of these backgrounds to their mid-tier or even entry-level positions and teams.
In a perfect world, a diverse workplace would thrive regardless of “race, age, gender, native language, political beliefs, religion, sexual orientation, or communication styles” (Angela, 2021) however the world has yet to reach that specific level of understanding. But the truth is, there are several benefits to having diverse teams within the workplace or workforce.
The major benefit would be the improvement in brand reputation. With having equal representation of several diverse employees throughout the company at various levels, customers and clients have a positive feeling about the business overall. Studies by the Peterson Institute for International Economics found that companies with 30% female leaders earned 6% more in profits when compared to other companies without female leadership (KGDiversity, 2019) (Noland, Moran and Kotschwar, 2016).
Another benefit of diverse hiring for the workforce leads to finding the best talent within the various cultures and abilities; opening these doors for applicants of diverse backgrounds can mean meeting natural talent in unexpected places. Diverse hiring also decreases employee turnover, improves creativity, productivity, and cultural insight.
For every benefit, however, comes its challenges. Diversity has seen its fair share of challenges over many decades. Policies such as Affirmative action make diversity hiring difficult for both companies and applicants, as disadvantaged groups may not present their talents in various industries because of a quota on that specific qualification being fulfilled. Issues in communication, possible hostility towards the disadvantaged group, and differences in culture and professional etiquette can also cause difficulties in the workplace. Company reputation also comes into question for diversity as some clients or customers may not trust a company if their culture advocates for diversity but their staff does not reflect the same idea.
The need for diversity and accurate representations in the workforce from entry to executive level employees are lost in record numbers across the board. Some examples include blacks in corporate America and Fortune 500 companies where there are currently 4 black CEOs, whereas 85% of the other Fortune 500 companies have white senior executives or board members. There are also 3.8% black CEOs and 8% black mid-level employees or managers.
Despite facing issues of diversity and inclusion, disadvantaged groups today are entering industries previously not thought of or considered.
Through the use of storytelling and other initiatives, we help our partners align the internal and external through uniting how they do business and their company culture around a shared purpose and vision.