Why diversity matters at work

There is a school of psychological thought that asserts that people want to be known and understood by others, and we therefore tend to surround ourselves with people like us.

This is called self-verification theory, and it often plays a role in how companies hire people. We have all seen businesses that tend to hire a “type.” While there can be some benefits to this, it is also very limiting – if everyone in the organization thinks the same way and has the same experience, the organization can get stale.

And that is why diversity matters for a business. It brings together people with different experiences and different approaches, and can create a more well-rounded team.

Here are four ways in which diversity can help your business.

  1. Different viewpoints mean new answers. As the saying goes, to a hammer, every problem appears to be a nail. If an organization approaches every opportunity and every challenge the same way, it runs the risk of stagnating. Building a diverse team is an opportunity to enhance the organization’s approach to its work.
  2. It provides your business with a bigger talent pool. It is no secret that companies today are battling for top talent; you very likely are feeling the talent imperative in your own business. Opening up your company to a wider talent pool by actively recruiting people of different genders, races, and age groups gives you an opportunity to bring in more “A players.” Additionally, it sends a signal to current and prospective employees that the company embraces differences, which in turn helps to further strengthen recruiting efforts.
  3. It can provide access to new customers. New people from different walks of life often bring with them access to new networks. By embracing diversity, businesses can widen their horizons. For instance, if your team is male-dominated and you are trying to sell to a woman-owned business, you will very likely struggle to build trust and make a connection.
  4. It pushes employees out of their comfort zones (in a good way). A team that is not challenged to think in new ways runs the risk of becoming complacent. When this happens, innovation slows, and that hurts a business in today’s competitive marketplace. A commitment to diversity will often fuel innovation because situations will be examined from many angles, rather than just one.

For many business leaders, diversity may not be a top-of-mind concept; when things are running smoothly, most typically are not considering ways to change up the organization’s approach. However, for the long haul, embracing diversity and developing a less homogenous team can be the key to greater success.

Contact us at 215.441.4600 if you have questions or would like to discuss how this topic may impact your business.

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