Why Diversity in the Workplace is Vital for Employees

As issues of racism have bubbled up beneath the surface for decades, it would be arrogant to claim that all of the answers are contained in this blog post.

“We must not only learn to tolerate our differences. We must welcome them as the richness and diversity which can lead to true intelligence.” - Albert Einstein

George Floyd died in Minneapolis on May 25th. Multitudes of people across not only the US, but the globe have taken part in protest to bring to light issues of race and confront how black people have been mistreated by police. While the country cries out for social change, small businesses and HR departments are having to deal with unprecedented circumstances bearing down on their employees as the tragic death of George Floyd came on the heels of a global pandemic and economic crisis. Most American employees are working remotely and recent events have driven in a wedge into human connection during a time when America might need it most.

HR executives across the nation are being advised to “check in” with their employees and grant annual leaves so people can attend demonstrations. Many employees are looking to company executives to take a stance against racism and support the Black Lives Matter movement where they may have been previously neutral or ignored the issue.

Issues of racism and injustice are not new problems. They’ve been bubbling up beneath the surface for decades and it would be arrogant to claim all the answers for companies are contained in this blog. But I can say that the solution lies somewhere in encouraging diversity and creating workplace ecosystems which make inclusion safe. Human connection and team building lead to more understanding and harmony where everyone can succeed. The business wins and the diverse employees win.

Workplace diversity is not a banner or slogan - it's a business necessity. Diversity in the workplace creates mutual respect amongst employees and for the company itself.

Mutual Respect Between Employees

Fostering workplace diversity takes work. Direct and conscious effort needs to be taken by HR and top executives to create diverse connections within a workforce. Hands on approaches need to be taken to create connections between employees of different races, work habits, styles and cultures. Just like the beautiful mosaic composed of infinite colors, work done by diverse teamwork brings about new products and innovation that would otherwise never come to fruition.

Economic Empowerment

To be blunt, marginalization due to race, age and physical attributes is as real as taxes. Many systems and efforts have been implemented into the corporate world to address these but you’d be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t directly seen marginalization at play in the last month.

Discrimination is illegal. It’s unethical. It has serious consequences. But it still happens. Conscious effort should be made by top executives to demarginalize as much as possible. There are several ethical and moral reasons this should be done which I won’t get into here, but one of the key reasons diversity should be worked for is because talent is everywhere. Companies and workforces that aren’t diverse are literally robbing themselves of huge talent pools and future successes within their ranks.

Job Promotion and Employment Development.

The importance of workplace diversity cannot be overstated when it comes to an organization’s ability to reach foreign markets. Global markets create two kinds of opportunities for employees: promotion and development. A global market opens doors for employees of different age, race, abilities and language to build income producing relations around the world. Employees interested in learning multinational business strategy will find new and challenging career opportunities in a diverse environment. Companies who have a diverse workforce standout in the global economy when they need to cross borders to do business.

Exposure to different kinds of people

A diverse workplace does more than expose employees to different cultures and backgrounds. Employees actively learn from employees of different races and ages. They pick up new work habits, viewpoints and ways of looking at things which translate into production. Employees within mutilracial and multi generational work environments grow much faster as people than employees who work in less diverse and uniform environments.

People spend the majority of their time working. Work and business has always played a key role in the culture of our country and it always will. If businesses can create diverse workplaces that are accepting, respectful and productive for everyone there will be more harmony. Creating diverse workforces might not solve the race issues the country is faced with, but diverse human connection can only help us all.

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