The Benefits of Workplace Diversity and What It Means for Your Business

As the wave of cultural diversity in organisations is changing the shape of global businesses, it has also transformed the workplace culture in Ireland.  12.5% of the population residing in Ireland comprises of people coming from abroad. This percentage is predicted to increase at a rapid rate in the coming years.  

But what’s in it for HR managers? It’s time to recruit, hire, and retain a diverse workforce in Ireland. A diverse workplace can contribute to the financial growth and stability of your organisation. And that’s possible only if you’re able to attract and retain employees with a different set of characteristics and skills.

Before discussing why workplace diversity is crucial for the success of your organisation, let’s dig deeper to know exactly what this emerging trend is all about.

What is workplace diversity?

As the name implies, the term, ‘workplace diversity’ encompasses cultural and individual differences prevailing in a workplace. Differences due to race, organisational hierarchy, age, gender, marital status, background, or ethnicity - all fall under the umbrella of workplace diversity.

A diverse culture can help a business gain its competitive edge, or it can adversely affect organisational growth and productivity – it all depends on how you, as an HR manager, take it forward.


Why workplace diversity is so important

Have you ever heard of diversity surveys and diversity awards? It’s all about celebrating the differences! Many countries flourish by encouraging the presence of workplace diversity in organisations. Ireland is one of them.

Whether it’s a warehouse, a pharmaceutical company, logistics, or a manufacturing company, you’ll see a myriad of examples of businesses that delve in workplace diversity. Some of these include Abbott, Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, and Colgate-Palmolive.

Interestingly, workplace diversity is here to stay in various industries. Consider the example of PayPal. The company successfully retains 2,400 employees in Ireland. The team is responsible for managing global operations across Europe. It provides exclusive customer service to PayPal’s diverse customers.

For PayPal, diversity means ‘to respect and value the uniqueness of each customer.’ The company incorporates its HR strategy by conducting training sessions geared toward diversity and inclusion. And the result? PayPal was rewarded with ‘Diversity Champion 2016’ – the Irish HR Champion Award. Undeniably, it’s a milestone achieved! That’s the influence workplace diversity can create.


The benefits of workplace diversity

Whether you’re hiring a small team of talented individuals or are conducting workplace training at a large scale, your organisation must embrace diversity. Of course, there are reasons for that. If implemented strategically, workplace diversity provides the following benefits to your organization:


1. Innovation and creativity

A homogenous workforce will have monotonous business ideas. If you want to compete in the market, you can stay one step ahead of your competitors by bringing out-of-the-box ideas to your organisation. Hiring and retaining a diversified pool of people can help you achieve this.

A case in point is Microsoft Ireland. It employs 1,200 individuals belonging to 50 different nationalities. Clodagh Logue, HR director at Microsoft, promotes diverse workforce because this helps the company stay innovative.


2. Productivity

Diversity and productivity are directly proportional to each other. Many organisations are aware of this already. In research by Forbes Insights, it was revealed that 85% of companies earning more than $500 million agreed that an inclusive and diverse workforce can encourage different ideas to drive innovation, which ultimately leads to higher productivity.

Upon approving their ideas, your employees will feel motivated. Eventually, this may boost their productivity.


3. Access to diversified clients

In Procter & Gamble, 51% of the workplace is diverse. This means that more than half of the workforce is ready to build long-term relationships with the multifaceted and multicultural consumer base.

So what should Procter & Gamble expect? A huge, expanded base of customers! Just like the example above, your organisation can also approach a diversified set of clients by hiring people with diverse languages, expertise, and skills. Want to expand your business to Asian markets? There are higher chances of reaching the Asian segment by hiring Asian employees.


4. Growth in skills/exposure

Diversified workplaces have higher ratios of employee engagement, according to a Gallup survey. Since engaged employees deliver a higher level of productivity, they’re more likely to have higher tenures in your organisation. During their tenure, they’re able to enhance their professional skills. With increased corporate exposure, they are competent enough to increase their client base, thus increasing the company’s profitability as a whole.


5. To attract and retain the best talent

67% of people searching for jobs say that they’d love to accept a job offer from a company that hires a diversified workforce, according to Glassdoor. That’s because they’re aware that companies with a diverse workforce treat their employees differently.

With mentoring programs, diversity training workshops, and employee resource groups in place, it’s a lot easier to attract and retain dedicated and skilled people for your company’s growth.


The bottom line

Workplace diversity fosters the reputation and profitability of an organisation. This is achieved when employees work in harmony with each other despite their individual differences.

So which HR initiative will you take to attract the right pool of diversified candidates? We’d love to know your thoughts!