How A Diverse Workforce Can Be Your Greatest Asset

Debbie Rigger

Is your company investing more in diversity? It should be.

Diversity is an investment in top talent, new ideas, and better connections. But more important, it’s about driving profitability.

More CEOs and executive leaders are realising this fact as they understand how diversity-driven initiatives attract more talent. Professionals must feel accepted by a company before they can consider working for them. This level of acceptance across a variety of identities, orientations, ages, and abilities is reflected in every workforce. If professionals see people like themselves working happily in your organisation, they’ll be happy to work with you too.

The more professionals who’d be happy to work with you, the more choice you’ll have in hiring the best.

Workforce diversity generates an abundance of distinct ideas that can help your company outthink the competition. The next billion-dollar idea may come from a background none of your employees have yet. Homogenous employees often cross-fertilise the same tired ideas, giving you the same results. However, a culture of diversity enhances creative thinking by encouraging employees to express themselves.

But there’s always a question of how diverse a workforce needs to become. Personally, I believe that your workforce should be as varied as your customer base. Winning the heart of every customer comes from understanding each one’s mindset. Having those mindsets already working for you will put you at an enormous advantage. Not only does diversity bring in customers; it can also bring in business partners. Imagine your company wants to expand into another country. Having staff who already understand the country’s language, customs, and culture can ease that expansion.

Of course, diversity isn’t just about who you hire and their education and work history. It can also be about the position you’re looking to fill. Think of the ideal role for applicants with experience in IT. Conventional wisdom might place them in the IT department, but why not in HR? It sounds like a strange choice until you consider how innovations, such as machine learning, could optimise the HR process.

But how do you access these benefits? What steps does your company need to take to increase diversity? To begin, implement change from the top down. Unless your CEO, executives, and managers are discussing diversity, no one will think your effort is authentic. Also, don’t look at diversity as a single initiative. Break it down into a series of small projects implemented across every department. Speak with managers at every level to see how they could increase diversity, and stay in contact to monitor progress.

For more insight into the importance of workplace culture, see Future Workplace Success Requires Culture Change Now.

Debbie Rigger

About Debbie Rigger

Debbie is Head of Human Resources for SAP ANZ.