Diversity is a topic that has been important for businesses for awhile now, and although plans, procedures, and even legal ramifications have been generated to make the workplace more equitable, there is still a way to go yet before diversity can be considered normal – in fact, only one in five (around 19%) of companies currently have a diversity, inclusion, and belonging lead – so there is still plenty to be done at higher levels where businesses are not embracing diversity to ensure equality across the board.
Being diverse isn’t just about ticking boxes or appearing to do the right thing, there are business critical reasons why being a diverse company is actually better for business – and these need to be carefully considered as well when businesses are not embracing diversity and are looking to create a diversity action plan.
By not embracing diversity, businesses can put themselves at risk – reputational damage, loss of sales, less talented staffing pools, and more – there are so many reasons why diversity matters, and why not making your company a diverse one can have a negative impact.
How Does Diversity Impact Your Business?
The issue of diversity is one that encompasses the entire business at every level, and the effects of being more inclusive can have a wide-ranging effect.
Some of the key areas which diversity impacts include:
Ethics and Morality – Long gone are the days when certain behaviours were ignored, over-looked, or hand-waved as being acceptable from certain groups. The current global view of diversity is that it is necessary, and that those who involve themselves with negative actions (such as racism, prejudice, bigotry, etc) are a negative influence which should be ignored, boycotted, or held up as an example of what not to do.
Attracting New Talent – When it comes to looking for work, 86% of women and 74% of men are actively seeking employers that have diversity strategies. In order to remain competitive, and attract the right talent to the business, it is essential that diversity is a priority.
Retaining Talent and the Company Reputation – Having a commitment to diversity, equality and inclusion in the workplace is absolutely vital for keeping your employees – a massive 81% of workers said they would leave their job if their employer wasn’t committed to diversity, equality, and inclusion.
This also impacts the company reputation as well – both internally with employees and externally with customers, investors, and other stakeholders. If a company has a bad reputation, or is known to allow discriminatory practices, then people will be less likely to engage or spend with them.
The Working Environment – A happy workplace is a productive one, and this includes diversity issues, 75% of workers also agree that a diverse workforce leads to more ideas and innovations, which not only helps to embed a culture of productivity, but grow the company and brand as well.
Acquiring New Business – Being diverse can lead to more opportunities and more business, simply put – diverse companies are 70% more likely to capture new markets compared to those who aren’t diverse.
Costs and Efficiency – Not being diverse can be costly on a number of levels, from complaints and lawsuits, to inefficient practices and processes which could have been better handled with a different skillset, by failing to make your business diverse, you are costing yourself time, effort, and money.
Increasing Profits – Consumers are far more conscious about their spending these days, and with social media, online news, and ease of access to practically instant information, it’s very easy for them to do their research and then make their spending decisions based on what they find.
People do vote with their wallets, and if you are perceived to be discriminatory, out-dated or have a bad reputation, then you are actively going to be losing customers – you might not even realise how many you are losing, because of zero-click searches and such, you have to be appealing at every stage to actually get the consumer to your site or product to even be able to get a rough idea of the impact.
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At the end of the day, diversity is a hot topic, and it’s not always easy to make changes – this could be due to local demographics, available skills, or because you’ve not actively focused on what your business could be doing to make a difference.
The issue of diversity isn’t going to go away, people want more equality and expect more from the businesses they support – and if you are not embracing diversity and fail to live up to these expectations, you will lose customers, investors, support, and money as a result.