Everything from governing bodies to police services are ‘supposed’ to be equally representative of the community - in terms of race, age, sexual orientation etc. – to reflect the community and their needs/values.
As a company you provide a value or a service to the members of those communities. To better represent those members’ and meet expectations, introducing diversity within your company will allow improved insight into the mindset of those you are selling to.
Australian communities have changed drastically since the 1970’s. One in four Australians are now born overseas and 21% speak a language other than English in their home. (Australian Bureau of Statistics) With this comes a need for a diversified range of products, expectations from services and workplaces to reflect those standards.
Regardless of your industry or niche, innovation rarely comes from a homogenous group.
The make-up brand Maybelline does not solely hire women aged 20-40 whom their products are marketed towards. Sometimes the best business strategies come from the outside looking inwards.
Having diversity in the workplace can help better identify target markets, selling points and value propositions through varying ideas from their different life experiences.
Diversity can include people from different races, ages, sexual orientation, nationalities, regions, citizenship status, military service status etc.
Yet still, if you are a woman, or ethnically diverse in Australia – you have fewer chances at success than straight, white Anglo Celtic males. Businesses and employers have yet to reflect proportionally the changing dynamic that is modern Australian society.
Here is a look at how Diversity may Improve your Business.
1. Competitive Advantage
Your upper management is not necessarily required to be diverse, but, to be truly innovative – they must be setting a positive example for diversification in your organisation.
Straight, white Anglo-Celtic males don’t have all the product and service knowledge applicable to serving different groups in the community. A differentiated workplace encourages involvement from a variety of individuals allowing for an assortment of ideas.
If your competitors fail to adopt this mindset, your business will be at an advantage in identifying potential markets.
2. Encourage Creativity and Drive Innovation
With a diversified workplace comes an expanded outlook on the world and the products/services required to solve the needs of a wider community. Those of different backgrounds can bounce ideas from one another based on their individual life experiences - providing a larger pool of creativity and improved innovation.
3. Improve Workplace Culture
We spend the majority of our day, week, and life at work. The people you work with have a major impact on the enjoyability of that workplace.
(67 percent) of those surveyed say a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers (Glassdoor) - this percentage increased further with minority groups.
Diversity improves the outlook of the company and makes you as an organisation appear laid back, progressive and fun to be a part of.
4. Create a Positive Public Image
The power is in the consumers hands. Never before has the balance of power shifted so heavily in favour of the customer. The internet has allowed reviews of your company to be seen like never before.
Chances are your community has changed – it has become more multicultural, open and progressive.
If the customer sees you as being accepting of diversity, particular if your organisation is a customer facing one, then your business will be viewed as a positive influence in the movement for equality.
Reviews can make or break your business. With one fourth of Australians born overseas, a significant portion of your customers may be looking to be inspired by a diversified company.
5. More Reflective of Worldwide Global Markets
As businesses and individual communities have become more globalized, most companies are operating within a diverse marketplace. (Entrepreneur).
With the ease of the internet, the digital marketplace and the simplicity of overseas delivery – your products/services have never been so globally accessible. With 24 million people in Australia encompassing 0.32% of the worlds’ population, the remaining 99.68% are ripe for taking, so to speak.
The global market also has a varied way of thinking and requires products to reflect that. A diversified workplace has an improved insight into the global way the rest of the world may think.
Diversity still has a long way to go.
ONE-third of workers are opposed to increased levels of ethnic diversity in their workplace, according to a new survey. The research, by Leadership Management Australasia, also showed that only half of workers believe diversity offers benefits to their company. (The Australian)
To seek out diversity is to risk being labelled as ‘politically correct’ – to ignore it is to risk falling behind societies standards. At the end of the day, the best person for the job should be considered, regardless of physical and social traits outside of their control.