The Importance of Diversity in the Workplace

While you may be great at your job and a wonderful person to spend time with, working with 200 clones of yourself will go downhill pretty fast.

Diversity in the office place isn’t just a poster with smiling people of various races, genders and ages standing close to each other and looking suspiciously friendly. It is a concept that can push your company forward with fresh ideas from a collective well of experience you couldn’t hope to grasp on your own. Workplace diversity isn’t a badge. It is a necessity and it can help ensure the survival of your business in an increasingly connected world. One in which people of all races, genders, ages and abilities are making huge strides in the name of not themselves, nor their respective demographic classes, but for the sake of organizations they’re proud to work for.

For one, when you create an environment where people from vastly different backgrounds are working together, you’re likely to build up an office that places a lot of value in respecting others. The people you hire will more easily recognize the strengths and talents of all different sorts of people different from themselves.

This will be helpful when it comes to things like conflict resolution and situations in which mutual respect is all but required in order to come to a healthy conclusion. The capacity to easily resolve conflicts will mitigate the potential for costly situations down the road.

Diversity looks good from far away
Once you’re able to build an office where everyone has respect for each other and conflicts are easily resolved, you’re bound to also catch a pretty good reputation as a business. When outreach efforts and recruiting networks - not just posters and rhetoric - display a commitment to diversity, your organization is far more likely to be respected by outside parties. If you’re hiring for a business that is known for its commitment to a diverse workforce, your pool of potential candidates is bound to widen, since more people will be interested in open positions at your company.

Many prominent companies have begun to make diverse talent pools a priority. In an interview with OneWire, Edith Hunt, Chief Diversity Officer at Goldman Sachs asserted:

“We’ve made huge strides in terms of [diversity] numbers, but not as much as we need to get to. So our recruiting efforts, our retention efforts, our career advancement efforts as it relates to women, people from underrepresented racial groups, LGBT people, and people with physical disabilities will continue to be an important pillar of talent management activity at Goldman and of other fine firms.”

Evidence shows that more diverse workforces have better numbers in regard to employee retention, as well as productivity. Additionally, the collective experience and knowledge that a more varied staff offers can enhance relationships with the community, improve your company’s ability to relate to customers, improve overall creativity and better its ability to adapt to and cope with significant changes. A team that is better able to respond to the circumstances it faces and work through them effectively is extremely valuable, and much easier to build while keeping diversity in mind.

Lastly, diverse perspectives can strengthen problem-solving, which is imperative for a lot of businesses. In a recent CEO interview with OneWire, Seán McCarthy, CEO of Build America Mutual, a municipal bond insurer, explains why diversity is critical to his business:

“I think it’s important to have a diverse group of talented people that bring different points of view to the table when you’re doing credit analysis. If you have everybody who thinks the same way and has the same background, you’ll miss the same issue every time.”

Keeping a diverse workforce is extremely important, especially today when more people than ever before have access to top finance jobs. Keep the values of diversity in mind when hiring in order to build a more productive and efficient team.