As our world continues to become more globalized, the workplace is becoming increasingly diverse. This trend has created a unique environment where employees from different cultural backgrounds are now working together and learning from each other. While some may view this diversity as a potential source of conflict, others recognize it as an opportunity for growth and development. Let’s dive into what workplace diversity is, its benefits and the challenges it brings, and why it is essential for every company.
What is workplace diversity?
Workplace diversity is about creating an environment where all employees can thrive, regardless of race, gender, age, religion, disability, or sexual orientation. It involves recognizing and valuing each individual’s unique qualities in the workplace and ensuring everyone has equal career development opportunities. Diversity in the workplace can bring various benefits to organizations, from increased creativity and innovation to improved problem-solving capabilities when teams work together with different perspectives. However, building a diverse workforce also comes with its own set of challenges that must be addressed if businesses are to use this advantage effectively. This article will explore the benefits and challenges associated with building a diversified workforce.
Benefits of Having a Diversified Workforce
- Increase Productivity and Innovation – Working in a diverse culture is the ability to learn from different perspectives, which can lead to increased creativity and innovation. When working in a diverse environment, employees are exposed to different perspectives and ideas, which can spark creativity and innovation. By understanding how others think and approach problems, employees can develop new ways of looking at things that they may not have considered before. This kind of creative thinking is essential for organizations that want to stay competitive in today’s ever-changing business landscape.
- It can foster an environment of acceptance and understanding – Having a team made up of people from different backgrounds encourages open communication and dialogue, allowing staff to discuss ideas without fear of judgment or ridicule. This allows for more open collaboration between team members, resulting in better problem-solving and decision-making. Furthermore, embracing diversity in the workplace can help build trust among colleagues since everyone is seen as an equal with their own unique strengths and weaknesses.
- Fast problem solving – Companies with higher workplace diversity solve problems faster and more effectively due to their ability to leverage a variety of perspectives. When different people come together to tackle an issue, each individual brings a unique set of skills, experiences, and perspectives that can help identify solutions faster than if only one point of view was taken into account. Research conducted by the Harvard Business Review found that diversified teams can solve problems relatively quicker than cognitively similar people.
- Higher employee engagement. In 2013, Deloitte conducted research that discovered higher employee engagement is a result of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. This conclusion was reached after analyzing the relationships between team dynamics, productivity, commitment, and job satisfaction. The study examined how organizations can create a workplace where employees feel appreciated for their differences and valued for their contributions. It found that when employees felt included, respected, and empowered to contribute to the organization’s success, they were more likely to be engaged with their work and committed to achieving results for the company.
While everything has its benefits, a diversified workplace also poses several challenges. Here are the 4 challenges of having a diversified workplace and how you could overcome them.
Challenges of Having a Diversified Workforce
- Communication Issues – With individuals from different backgrounds, cultures, ages, and genders, it can be challenging to ensure everyone is on the same page about expectations and processes. Additionally, language barriers need to be overcome to foster an effective work environment. A company needs to have a strong set of leaders who can ensure that everyone is on the same page and that communication issues are eradicated.
- Social or Political issues – overly diverse workplace may also lead to outbursts of conflict due to disagreements on social or political issues. If a company fails to address these issues promptly, it could risk creating a hostile or unproductive work environment where employees are unable to perform at their best. Furthermore, suppose a company doesn’t take proactive measures to ensure that everyone is comfortable in the workplace. In that case, this can lead to feelings of exclusion or alienation, which can have serious consequences for morale and productivity.
- Discrimination – in the workplace remains a major challenge for businesses looking to build a diversified workforce. The presence of discrimination can contribute to an unhealthy work environment, lower morale, and decreased productivity – all of which can have a negative impact on a company’s bottom line. Luckily, there are steps employers can take to reduce or eliminate discrimination in the workplace and create an inclusive culture that values diversity. Educating employees about discrimination can definitely help them have an idea of why such behavior is not tolerated. However, educating them would not be enough a workplace policy that prohibits discrimination should also be in place for people to have a strong belief that the company is serious with its movement towards an inclusive workplace.
- Cultural Misunderstandings – it is expected that cultural misunderstandings may arise from having a diversified workforce. For example, napping during work hours is culturally accepted in Japan, while in other countries, it can be seen as offensive. Fortunately, there are several strategies organizations can use to reduce the likelihood of cultural misunderstandings. These include providing cross-cultural training, encouraging dialogue among employees from different backgrounds, and promoting inclusion through policies and initiatives. By ensuring everyone feels respected and valued within their organization, businesses will be better able to foster a collaborative culture where everyone’s contributions are appreciated.
Creating a diverse and inclusive workplace is essential to the success of any business today. A healthy workplace can have tremendous benefits for employers, their employees, and customers alike. Here at CodingChiefs, we’re continuously building an inclusive and diversified workforce as most of our team members are diverse people from the Netherlands, Serbia, and the Philippines. We embrace cultural diversity and leverage it to tap into a deeper pool of talent to create innovative solutions to stay ahead of the curve in an increasingly competitive market.