“Diversity and independence are important because the best collective decisions are the product of disagreement and contest, not consensus or compromise.” – James Surowiecki
Technology has enabled businesses to spread across the globe. This means that its customers and the people that work in the company would be from different backgrounds, countries, races, beliefs, demographics – essentially a diverse group. It is obvious then that diversity is good for business, since the differences would amount to collective wisdom, which in the current global business scenario would bode well for any company. A company needs employees with a variety of skill sets and diverse experiences if it wants to remain successful and competitive. Encouraging diversity is good for business in every way – it brings together an amalgamation of talent, experience, knowledge, skills, and other traits that serve to enrich a company. True a company would need to manage this diversity well, since it could also be a cause of friction and conflict leading to a complete disruption of unity and cohesiveness.
Diversity is good for business as it breeds and enhances the number of innovative ideas, increases awareness of different markets and customer segments, gives a company access to the knowledge of possible new products and overall broadens a company’s outlook. In the current business scenario, a narrow outlook can thwart a company’s chances of success – to be seen as traditional and unable to manage diversity are not exactly the kind of things that spell success. Diversity drives innovation too. Being innovative is essentially the ability and willingness to try new things and remain flexible – and with a diverse workforce and customer base, a company would be poised to make breakthrough innovations.
Companies are recognizing that diversity is good for business and actively seek to include it in every aspect. If a company must be known as a global one, it would need to open its mind to hire local people in the countries it operates. The customers in the particular countries and regions would feel more comfortable interacting with their ‘own’ and with those that understand their culture, preferences, and are able to communicate with them in their native language. Diversity is good for business because it draws customers closer and makes it easier for them to trust a company. The more customers feel engaged, the more likely they are to provide repeat business and speak well of the company, thereby encouraging others to explore business interactions with the company.
On closer examination, you would notice that many companies include diversity in their mission statements and encourage it as part of the culture. Doing so creates an emotional and personal connection with customers and the target audience. This would also appeal to markets and customer bases that companies may not even know exist – thereby creating more business. Appealing to diversity, makes a company appear more responsible, attuned with the times, and one with a broad and contemporary outlook. It would be a lot easier for such a company to continue expanding in ‘unchartered’ territory, since there would always be employees, customers, and other stakeholders willing to associate with it.
Diversity is good for business since companies are now being increasingly compared with each other and judged beyond just their profits and margins. People are interested to know how the company compares to others in being mindful of society and the measures it takes to contribute something back to it. The more knowledge and experience a company can gain through diverse employees and customers, the better returns it would report for its shareholders – which is very good news for a business. As concerns for society and lack of tolerance rise, companies that epitomize diversity would stand ‘head and shoulders’ above their competitors and other market players. The belief would be that a company that displays care would make for a great business partner and employer. People are beginning to prefer, companies that have values, are not reluctant to show it and would act appropriately to sustain them.
Companies must however be careful that they maintain diversity by creating opportunities and resolving any differences that arise in the workplace due to a diverse workforce or customer base. Diversity is good for business and is the path for any company to follow, for success. Surveys have revealed that a very large number of people believe that diversity helps a company to remain innovative and leverage it for reaching the business goals for the company and the customers. In addition, a company with diverse leadership would be more successful in managing a varied workforce and customer base. We know that employees emulate the leadership of the company and hence if the leadership were diverse, the company would be able to attract top talent, improve customer service, and add to the customer base.
A diverse company opens many more avenues of growth for itself and gains a competitive advantage by staying flexible, adaptable, and open-minded. Diversity is good for business since it allows a company to look beyond petty differences and transcend boundaries that create limitations. The most successful companies are those that have the principles of diversity deeply embedded in their culture, leadership, and every aspect of their business. Employees of different backgrounds can work together in harmony, and are not reluctant to share their ‘brand’ of ideas and knowledge with each other – thereby developing a sea of talent that can be used to increase both employee and customer satisfaction. A company that manages and encourages diversity would be able to create a niche for itself and come to be known as a market leader over time.
As mentioned, companies are becoming global – setting up operations in many parts of the world. A company that has a diverse workforce would be in a better position to understand customers and their needs, leading to enhanced customer service, which in turn would mean more business. We know that in order to please customers and provide them with customized offerings, a deep understanding of their emotional needs, preferences, pain areas, and business is critical. Customers would feel more comfortable speaking to representatives who they can relate to because of the familiarity that develops through common aspects – could be language, ethnicity, region, beliefs, and other such aspects. Consistently improving products and service is a sure shot way to attract more customers and gain repeated business from existing ones.
Diversity is good for business because it is representative of a company’s open mind-set of inclusivity. It encourages constructive debates and discussions, leading to a lot more ideas and quick effective decision-making. Diversity challenges monotony and rote systems – and given the current breed of competitors, this kind of constructive disruption is becoming necessary to insure success. With varied thought processes at play, many different solutions to a single problem would be possible, allowing a company to choose the one that suits it and the customers, most appropriately. With proactive thinking and efficiency at work, a company is able to enhance its reputation and standout from the melee, and make it more adaptive to the frenzied pace of change that exists in the current business environment.
The point is that diversity is good for business – it directly and positively affects a company’s bottom line. Diversity is no longer only a question of business morality or work ethics – it just makes great business sense.