Nowadays, you see more and more diverse and international teams in the Netherlands – but why? It’s because a diverse group is crucial for business growth and innovation. Want to know how your company can grow and innovate? The answer is simple: diversity in the workplace.
In this article, I discuss why diversity is so important and the benefits it offers. As a (black) entrepreneur, this has helped me win and deliver cool new projects for a diverse client portfolio in two years.
The importance of diversity in the workplaceCreating a working environment where all employees feel seen and heard, regardless of their background, gender, sexual orientation, age, ethnicity or religion does both the results and image of any company good. A study from Gartner showed that management teams that reflect “a diverse and inclusive culture” are more likely to reach their financial goals. They also found that gender-diverse and inclusive teams also show significantly better performance than gender-homogenous and non-inclusive teams.
Further, an inclusive environment reduces employee turnover and increases engagement and satisfaction. This leads to better collaboration and team dynamics, improving overall company productivity and performance.
Financial benefits of diversity and inclusionBesides a positive impact on productivity, companies that invest in diversity and inclusion also benefit from better resilience in the event of financial crises, such as the one brought on by COVID-19, because they are more flexible.
The impact of not focusingNot focusing on inclusion and diversity can even have negative consequences. For instance, you may not only face negative feedback and criticism, but you may also have trouble positioning yourself in a market that focuses on a wider target audience.
According to McKinsey, a global management consulting firm, companies need innovation and resilience, two typical benefits of a diverse and inclusive business, when recovering from a crisis.
Creative benefits of inclusion and diversityDiverse teams are more innovative and better able to anticipate the various changes in consumer needs and consumption patterns, which enables businesses to try out new products and services that may provide a competitive advantage.
For example, let’s say that a content team must produce a campaign on Ramadan and Eid. It would be advantageous to the business if the members working on the project participated in these religious events themselves. This is to ensure that the campaign is done by people who know what they are talking about, like knowing when you can use “Eid Mubarak” in copy and when not to. The campaign’s tone of voice would be more appropriate and accurate, unlike if it was done by someone who doesn’t have previous experience or familiarity with these traditions.
Connecting with customers through diversityA team that is diverse not only in terms of knowledge and skills, but also in terms of cultural backgrounds and identities (in the broad sense of the word), is better able to level up with a diverse clientele. Clients logically like to work with companies that not only understand their norms, values and corporate culture, but that also feel them within their own organisation.
This shared feeling creates a mutual understanding and thus a positive and fruitful collaborative atmosphere, which increases the chances of extending or repeating the partnership. After all, how tempting is it for two mothers with their own business to catch up on motherhood over dinner outside working hours? Business casual, anyone?
A better world starts with yourselfLast, but not least, it is important that companies not only talk about how important diversity is but also to implement it in their own operations. Organisations that promote a message of inclusion and diversity, but do not meet these characteristics themselves, seem to benefit mainly from the commercial benefits that it brings to their image, which is called pinkwashing (pink- and white-washing).
Benefits of diversityWith diversity, you reduce employee turnover and increase engagement and overall work satisfaction. It also helps to improve employee productivity, work quality, flexibility, client relationships and resilience from (financial) crises. By consciously working towards an inclusive and diverse working environment, you too can reap these benefits.