Inclusive Equals Productive: The Importance of Diversity in the Workplace

In this day and age, the importance of diversity in the workplace is integral to success.

For employers, a diverse workforce can increase innovation revenue by up to 19%.

For employees, a diverse workplace can improve company culture and boost happiness, engagement, and productivity at work.

Even in the early stages of recruitment, diversity matters, and when evaluating a job opportunity, over three-quarters of jobseekers consider diversity to be an important factor.

Think of this blog post as your AdBuilder open-top bus tour of all things diversity. We’ll see some sights, we’ll learn some things, and you’ll get your metaphorical money’s worth.


What Is Diversity in the Workplace?

Workplace diversity can be best described as a wide range of employees from all kinds of backgrounds working successfully together.

It’s not about symbolism or box-ticking. It’s about creating a genuinely inclusive working environment.

An environment where everyone feels safe and comfortable, and a workplace that sees higher rates of productivity and achievement as a result. 🏆

There’s always room to incorporate diversity and inclusion policies.

When Did Diversity in the Workplace Begin?

In the last few decades, diversity and inclusion practices and programmes have drastically evolved.

From women in wartime Britain looking to keep their jobs post-war to the civil rights movements of the 60s, brave people across the globe have been fighting for equal employment rights for a long time.

Still, most of the real change on that front has been confined to the late 90s and onwards.

To put into perspective how far we’ve come: Google only published its first publicly available diversity report in 2014.

Here’s the company’s inclusivity timeline:

2005 – Google’s first Head of Diversity is hired.

2009 – The first companywide goal for diversity, equity and inclusion is set.

2010 – The diversity team expands globally, hiring regional leadership.

2013 – Google launches an unconscious bias training programme for employees, which has been completed by more than 84% of managers as of 2020.

2014 – Google’s first publicly available diversity report is released and a gender equality portfolio is launched.

2015 – A racial equality portfolio is launched.

2019 – The Diversity Annual Report expands to include LGBT+ people with disabilities, non-binary people and ex-military people.

If you ask me, a big player in the acceleration of workplace equity is in the tech industry.

In 2021, we’re more connected than ever. By the internet. By our smartphones. By everything, really.

We can’t be confined to our bubbles anymore. Many of us have been doing some listening, and some understanding of experiences that we might not have before.

The Future of Professional Inclusivity 🔮

With the foundations set and the world becoming more and more diverse with each new generation, now’s the time to keep moving in the right direction.

How do we make the future of professional inclusivity bright?

By making it a core company ethos, rather than a last-minute add-on.

By holding ourselves continually accountable and challenging conscious and unconscious biases wherever we can.

By building up levels of representation, particularly at the leadership level.

As of 2020, only 6.4% of Fortune 500 companies had female CEOs. While this figure is the highest it’s ever been, there’s still a lot of room for improvement.

Why Is Diversity Important in a Workplace?

One of the best ways to understand the need for diversity and diversity policy in the workplace is to look at how many kinds of professional marginalisation occur.

Diversity and inclusion work looks to raise up and hear the voices of the following groups:

– Women

– LGBT+ people

– People of colour

– Older people

– Physically disabled people

– Mentally disabled people

– Religious people

– People from a disadvantaged socioeconomic background

– People who speak a different language

– Ex-military people

– People with a low level of formal education

A workplace in which everyone is heard is a workplace that can function at its best. 👂

How Does Diversity Benefit the Workplace?

Eight key benefits underscore the importance of diversity in professional settings. Diversity and inclusion:

1. Offers New Insights

When people from a range of backgrounds come together, new ground is covered. New insights are offered, and new ideas are explored. 💡

In marketing terms, this is a huge pro.

With a more diverse workforce, your company will be able to reach a more diverse customer base, connecting to people that might otherwise have been inaccessible.

With better customer understanding and a new approach to selling and marketing, studies have shown that a diverse company is 70% more likely to capture a new market of customers.

2. Allows for Quick, Effective Problem-Solving

When compared to a single person deciding something, diverse teams of people working together make a better choice around 87% of the time.

If you’re truly looking to build a quick-thinking, innovative workforce of employees, you’re best placed to make room for diversity.

Considering a situation from every angle, as only people with different lenses and life experiences working as one can do, is the best way to make sense of it.

One person can build on the ideas of others until a solution is created that no single person in the collaborative group would have reached alone. 👷‍♀️👷‍♂️

Teamwork truly does make the dream work.

3. Improves Workplace Productivity Levels

Similarly, diversity in the workplace has been shown to increase levels of productivity among employees.

This happens for several reasons.

For one, employees feel happier and more comfortable in an inclusive, supportive workplace and are committed to working hard for a company that they like. 💛

Secondly, employees are challenged and intellectually stimulated by the new perspectives and insights in a way that they wouldn’t be in a homogenous workplace of straight white men. 🌈

Finally, employees know that your company’s commitment to diversity means there’s room for everyone to grow and develop. 🌿

When promotions are given to the best person for the job, and efforts are made to mitigate unconscious hiring bias, employees are far more likely to work hard and put in the hours.

4. Boosts Employee Creativity

A diverse team doesn’t ‘think outside of the box’ – they deconstruct the box entirely and make something new.

Employee creativity is strongly boosted in diverse professional settings, again for a combination of the reasons listed above. 🎨

As an employer, giving your employees the space and atmosphere they need to thrive, work hard and get creative is a must.

What’s one of the best ways to do this? Investing in diversity and inclusion, of course.

5. Lowers Employee Turnover

The importance of diversity in the workplace has a huge impact on company culture too, enabling you to create an environment in which everyone can feel valued, welcome, and cared for.

And when you feel valued, welcome, and cared for, how likely are you to leave? 🧐

That’s right, diversity programmes and practices can massively lower employee turnover rates.

With lower turnover rates, your business will enjoy:

Consistency at a product/service production level – The teams of people working on things won’t always be changing and shifting, having to adjust to new dynamics.

Consistency in client relationships – Clients will develop rapport and connection with consistent points of contact in your company, cultivating a strong business relationship.

Higher morale – A happy, satisfied mood is infectious in the workplace, and employees that work together for a long time can create strong bonds.

Lower costs – Hiring can be expensive, complex and time-consuming. The less you need to onboard new people, the more money you’ll save to inject elsewhere in the company.

6. Increases Workforce Engagement

In 2021, millennials are the biggest demographic to account for in the workplace.

One of the best ways to get millennial employees engaged is by fostering an inclusive culture at work.

When millennials feel that their workplace is inclusive, their levels of active engagement at work rise by an impressive 23% (60% to 83%). ⬆️

If you’re looking to capitalise on that increase and up the ante in your company, you know what to do.

Connect with your employees and develop their sense of company loyalty and engagement by showing them that you care first. 

7. Improves External Reputation

Just as diversity and inclusion will improve your internal reputation, word of a positive working atmosphere will spread externally too.

When people see that you’re hiring diversely and that your current employees are satisfied at work, they’ll be far more inclined to want to work for you.

And when people want to work for you, the recruitment process is far easier.

Diversity makes your company desirable, relatable, and interesting to all candidates, particularly those from younger generations who increasingly value the idea of an employer that truly cares.

Investing in building a popular positive brand can have a massive impact.

8. Removes Obstacles Keeping Talented Candidates from Dream Roles

When your workplace is diverse, your job adverts are unbiased. Every stage of the process accommodates people of all backgrounds, and you remove a billion obstacles.

You allow talented candidates to access their dream roles by:

✅ Making their potential new workplace feel safe

✅ Making their potential new workplace feel like somewhere they belong 

✅ Showing them that they’ll have room to develop with your company

✅ Showing them that you’re willing to make reasonable accommodations to secure their success

The Reality of a Workplace Without Diversity

Without diversity, minorities suffer in the workplace.

Without diverse leadership (according to a Harvard Business Review study):

– Women are 20% less likely than straight, white men to win endorsement for their ideas

– People of colour are 24% less likely than straight, white men to win endorsement for their ideas

– LGBT+ people are 21% less likely than straight, white men to win endorsement for their ideas

As an employer, if you’re truly attempting to foster an environment in which anyone can thrive, you have to face it head-on.

Recognise the realities of how the workplace has traditionally functioned, and imagine how it could be tomorrow with some effort and commitment. 💞

Inclusive Best Practices Begin at the Recruitment Stage

Best practices for diversity and inclusion in the workplace should begin before an employee joins your organisation.

As I’ve detailed above, there’s a way to promote equity at every stage. Even during recruitment, a failure to be inclusive can be hugely damaging, putting off well-suited candidates. 😱

If you’re worried about your recruitment and hiring processes putting people off, don’t be. AdBuilder can fix this!

Follow these best practices to recruit the best candidates…

1. Advertise on diversity-focused job boards

Meet diverse candidates where they are on specialist job boards.

There are boards for LGBT+ people, ex-military people, female professionals and disabled people. Whoever you’re trying to welcome, you can do so by advertising your jobs on a diversity job board.

2. Watch out for unconscious bias and exclusionary language in your job adverts

There are a million ways you can fall into the unconscious bias trap.

From gendered language to unnecessary jargon, avoid unconscious bias in your job ads or risk narrowing the talent pool.

3. Consider your listed job requirements carefully and phrase them well

With so few words to work with, every single word in your job ad matters.

If you list irrelevant requirements, you risk making women feel underqualified or exclude certain audiences. For example, the listing might say a driving license is required for the role when it’s more of a preference. This common mistake can put disabled candidates off.

4. Express your commitment to diversity and inclusion with a strong diversity statement

When you include a short but powerful diversity statement in your job ads, you let candidates know that your workplace is safe, welcoming, and inclusive.

If you’d like to grade and assess the inclusivity of your job adverts, why not try AdGrader?

And That’s the Tea on Diversity

Making a true active commitment to diversity is a sure-fire way to attract quality candidates, keep current employees happy, and allow your company to continue thriving.

Beyond diversity, there are many ways to improve, streamline and enhance your recruitment processes.

Stick around on the AdBuilder blog to discover:

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James Ball
Written by James Ball

James is the founder and owner of AdBuilder and a recruitment expert from Sutton Coldfield in the UK.  He regularly advises companies on how to improve and get the maximum ROI from their recruitment processes and advertising.

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