Diversity is important in any workforce. And with 66% of employees saying a diverse workplace is a principal consideration when choosing a job, there is clearly room for improvement.
Diversity is an indicator of how seriously a company and its leadership group take inclusion and equality but it is also a great way for businesses to improve their creativity and problem solving. This is because rather than trying to solve a problem from a fixed point of view, diverse workforces bring different elements to the table. So if you are looking at your hiring process, here is why inclusive hiring should be at the top of your priority list to enhance creativity and problem solving.
Hiring from a range of backgrounds brings different life experiences, ways of thinking and challenges assumptions. This leads to new, unconventional solutions and ideas that would not emerge from homogeneous groups. Studies show that diverse teams tend to outperform non-diverse teams by up to 60% and make better decisions in 87% of cases.
Companies with a lack of diversity can develop closed thinking where narrow assumptions go unchallenged. They tend to propose conventional solutions aimed at customers most like themselves. In today’s globalised world, this limited thinking hinders the ability to serve diverse clients and innovate for complex challenges.
Companies have increasingly come to understand the substantial value in creating a diverse workforce in terms of ethnicity, gender, age and income. Hiring inclusively helps reflect this diversity internally. It brings awareness of different priorities, experiences and values which translates into tailored solutions and services.
An inclusive workforce brings a diversity of thought which helps companies develop better products, services and decisions tailored to customers. Unconventional ideas are generated and staff feel greater ownership of projects that match their experiences.
When teams include a range of backgrounds, perspectives and ways of thinking, it leads to more creative options proposed and considered. Assumptions are challenged, new concepts shared and solutions co-created to suit diverse users, while businesses are able to tap into a broader range of insights to drive innovation.
An inclusive culture also empowers individuals by giving equal opportunity to contribute. Unconventional suggestions from diverse staff are more readily accepted and built upon which spurs further creativity. When companies include and value all staff, it leads to greater investment in team projects and goals.
Diverse, inclusive teams experience the important benefits of higher satisfaction and lower turnover as they feel their unique skills and insights are utilised. This cohesion and shared purpose translates into improved innovation.
To gain the benefits of diversity, companies must first build a diverse workforce. This requires attracting talent from a range of backgrounds.
Practical steps for promoting diversity include:
By tailoring your communications and reviewing hiring processes to level the playing field, companies can take positive action to build a diverse workforce. Paired with an inclusive culture, a diverse range of talent will be attracted and retained for competitive advantage. Overall diversity must be an ongoing strategic priority for all businesses today.
Promoting an inclusive culture is essential for realizing the benefits of diverse hiring. When companies create an environment where everyone feels valued and able to contribute fully, it leads to improved decision making. More voices are incorporated and biases reduced.
Inclusive leadership shapes company culture through clear commitment to diversity and inclusion. This means:
When companies shape an inclusive culture, people feel their voices are heard and valued while decisions incorporate more perspectives which helps identify optimal solutions. Staff also feel empowered to point out biases and lack of inclusiveness within the company so appropriate action can be taken.
Inclusive hiring and a diversity of thought are essential for business creativity, problem solving and performance. By empowering people of all backgrounds, companies benefit from a range of valuable insights, co-create optimal solutions and make superior decisions.
Overall, inclusion and diversity should be a strategic priority for all companies seeking to gain a competitive advantage through innovation.