The Benefits of a Diverse Workplace | Net Impact

The Benefits of a Diverse Workplace

The Benefits of a Diverse Workplace | Net Impact

Business initiatives to address workplace diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) have been ongoing for many years. However, these issues and the necessity to address them have certainly leaped to the forefront in 2020. The Black Lives Matter Movement has drawn even more attention to the inherent problems associated with systemic racism, which has existed in the United States for over 400 years.

As a result, companies are taking a much closer look at their policies when it comes to diversity in the workplace and the importance of implementing strategies to address these issues in today’s global landscape.

History of diversity in the workplace

The heightened awareness of the existence of systemic racism in the United States has brought about new questions and observations. Are businesses just beginning to address these issues as a result of the current environment? Or have companies acknowledged the need for a more diverse workplace in the past and are already sowing the seeds of change? Historically, the answer to both questions is yes:

  • For over a century following the formation of the United States in 1776, diversity and equality were virtually non-existent.
  • It wasn’t until World War I when men went off to war when women became a key part of the American workforce.
  • The Jazz Age of the 1920s and an ever-stronger voice among minority workers also created clear signs that America was moving away from white male dominance to one of inclusion for people of color and women.
  • Despite these early signs of progress, the evolution of diversity in the workplace has been slow at best over the years. Over the last decade, the numbers speak for themselves. The US workforce consists primarily of:
    • 60% non-Hispanic white people.
    • 17% Hispanic people.
    • 12% African Americans.
    • 17% foreign-born immigrants.

In 2020, however, DEI is no longer just a moral issue. It's a business one as well. In fact, more diverse companies are outperforming others by at least 35%.

The need for diversity in the workplace is changing business strategy

In today’s global economy, business leaders are seeing the need to incorporate diversity, equity and inclusion in order to effectively compete. Businesses are learning that a more diverse workforce equates to higher profits and the ability to retain and attract top talent. They are also seeing a positive impact on their employees:

  • Mutual respect among employees.
  • Economic empowerment of marginalized workers.
  • Conflict reduction and resolution.
  • Job promotion and employee development.
  • Increased exposure to fellow employees from diligent cultures and backgrounds.

Benefits of diversity in the workplace

As businesses embrace the reality and importance of a more diverse workforce, there is growing intangible evidence that is it no longer a question of if but when others will follow suit. In 2020, the success stories continue to grow with major global corporations such as:

  • Mastercard: It has become a global leader in its DEI initiatives. The company believes it is not just about bringing people of diverse backgrounds together, but understanding that their differences bring about true innovation.
  • Hershey: The company has a longstanding policy of diversity and inclusion because "it has always been the right thing to do." It too has become a leader in DEI.

These success stories, along with the growing numbers of many, many others, are now serving as models that cultural diversity in business is a win-win for all.

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