Diversity and Inclusion
“We are all different, which is great because we are all unique. Without diversity life would be very boring.”
— Catherine Pulsifer
By Jacqueline “Jackie” Brito
As Florida continues to reopen the state’s economy following the coronavirus quarantine, how might we ensure the most effective revitalization efforts for Central Florida companies that have been adversely impacted the most? If you own or work for one of those companies, what strategies can be deployed to help ensure a return on your investment (ROI)?
Leaders of top-performing organizations are keenly aware of the correlation between workforce diversity and their financial performance. An all-inclusive diverse workforce strategy suggests that a company employ a wide range of individuals of varying ages, religions, abilities, ethnicities, genders, cultures, sexual orientation, education, and languages, to name a few.
Here are six key advantages worth considering that are aimed at increasing social growth and profits through workforce diversity:
Creative and innovative ideas. Various perspectives are essential in facilitating creativity and innovation to generate profitable outcomes. If your team is composed of individuals who think, speak, act, believe and behave the same, the ability to grow your business could be severely constrained at the risk of perpetuating the status quo. However, critical thinking can be optimized when individuals with different backgrounds are included. Diversity in viewpoints can encourage team members to examine their customary assumptions and allow new opportunities to emerge.
Ability to identify unintended consequences. It’s imperative to do your due diligence prior to implementing any new business strategy; yet it’s highly unlikely you will eliminate all unintended consequences in pursuit of your projected outcomes. By including team members with varying degrees of knowledge, skills and abilities to ask key questions as strategies are being developed, you minimize the risk of group think and project failure. In return, you increase the likelihood of profitability.
A stronger and wider bench. Companies known for transparent and ethical employment practices are positioned to attract the most viable candidates. The expansion of recruitment and retention efforts to include diverse pools of qualified individuals with in-demand skill sets essential to the success of your business positions you and your company as an influencer and disruptor in the market. Subsequently, ethical behaviors mitigate perceptions and allegations of discrimination and potential charges filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or costly employment lawsuits.
Extended market reach. The ability to anticipate consumer needs starts with a clear perspective of the audience you want to reach. Whether your focus is local, global or both, employing and empowering individuals from different backgrounds facilitates targeted marketing efforts to a broader base of customers and assists in identifying and reaching new market segments. Your company’s image of being an inclusive organization could create brand loyalty in new, diverse, untapped markets and potentially an economic advantage.
Lower employee turnover rates. The most valuable assets to any organization are the right people. With the myriad costs associated with each hiring and firing decision, it’s important to handle both wisely. For more profitable and sustainable outcomes, identify diverse candidates whose values align with your organization’s mission, vision and business objectives. When you practice inclusion rather than assimilation, not only do employees stay, but they are engaged. You get to retain and capitalize on their intellectual property, which adds a positive impact to your organization’s bottom line.
A socially conscious culture. A genuine commitment to workforce diversity requires goals specific to inclusion and engagement detailed in your company’s strategic plan. This will position you as a results-driven, socially conscious leader who fosters a company culture that values diversity.
It is impossible to guarantee outcomes. But it is possible to consider alternative solutions to revitalize your business, thereby disrupting the status quo while strengthening your ability to gain market share through a diverse workforce.
Jacqueline “Jackie” Brito SHRM-SCP, SPHR, is an evidence-based organizational culture strategist, executive coach and speaker who is the founder and CEO of HR Asset Partners. She previously worked in recruitment, marketing and career development at the Rollins College Crummer Graduate School of Business in Winter Park and as an internal HR consultant at the Orlando Sentinel, a multimedia communications company. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.