The benefits of an inclusive and diverse workforce are increasingly spoken about – especially if you are a regular follower of our ramblings. The majority of the time we talk about retention – looking after the people you have already got. If you haven’t got to be continually replacing people your recruitment task becomes easier, right? Skills shortages and continual uncertainty aren’t going away anytime soon and a happy workforce will allow you to concentrate on recruitment for growth rather than replacement.
A diverse workforce will also help attract more diverse candidates as it’s natural for people to want to work where they feel they’ll be amongst people like them, where they will feel welcome and can be their real selves. As long as you have a vision and values that represents the different communities in your workforce you will build a rich and rewarding inclusive culture.
There are however some very tangible business benefits to having a diverse workforce who feel like they belong. In fact, wherever you are on your journey, if you embrace the differences you currently have in your people, you will reap instant rewards.
Firstly, your decision making will improve. A study by Cloverpop found that inclusive teams make better business decisions 87% of the time – wow – the power of diverse thinking combatting the natural biases that exist in us all when making decisions. This is the reason I take a photo of my feet and send it to my wife before buying any new trainers (“Yeah they’re not you…act your age” is what I normally get, before begrudgingly accepting the benefit of a different perspective and moving on.)
Secondly, your creativity will increase – you can see what’s coming next, can’t you? When different views are included in product/service development something magical happens – sparks ignite and creative thinking goes through the roof. Not to mention the fact that your products will now appeal to more people by having gone through this process. If you ignore this the opposite can happen. Quite famously the first version of Apple’s Health app for tracking “key health metrics” initially left off a tracker that about half the world’s population might use on a monthly basis!
Finally, the renowned marketeer Seth Godin coined a phrase many years ago – ‘People like us do things like this”. I’m changing it slightly to “people like to work with people like this”. There is nothing that a client will like better than to know they are being assisted by someone like them, or having a management team they can relate to, or having inclusive values that match their own.
As you strive to take your products and services to wider audiences, whatever metric that may be by, having a workforce that is representative of the customers you currently have, and importantly, seek to have, could be the difference between success or otherwise. I mentioned in a previous blog that many business leaders I am speaking to have confirmed that potential clients now ask them about the make-up of their workforce – what would your answer be?
Having a diverse, inclusive team who feel like they belong in your organisation will not only make your life easier when recruiting, it will transform the way that your whole business operates – and not only make you a magnet for new talent, but lots of lovely new customers too.
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