The changing face of workplace diversity is a sensitive but necessary topic that all businesses need to discuss when they are considering employing new staff. Workplaces look significantly different now when compared to a decade or so ago, largely due to the move towards workplace diversity. This is ultimately necessary for reflecting today’s social climate.
What is workplace diversity
When people hear the term “workplace diversity” minds often wander straight to the gender gap discussions of recent years. With the equal pay movement continuing to gain strength, the message about including women at equal standing in the workplace is a global concern. While the equal treatment of women and men in the workplace is incredibly important, it is not the only way to define diversity in your workplace.
Diversity in the workplace is the notion that companies are open to hiring employees from a wide range of backgrounds; regardless of race, religion, or culture. However, workplace diversity can also be hiring people from different educational backgrounds, personality types, and experience.
Effectively, the overarching principle is that there should be no bias when it comes to the hiring of potential employees, and companies should equally compare all candidates. The importance is placed on your staff feeling valued. Rather than hiring someone of a specific background or race, you are hiring the person that is the most appropriate candidate for the role.
Australia leads the workplace diversity scorecard
Ideally, companies should be aiming to recognise employees’ ideas, perspectives, and unique qualities. For decades, Australia has been considered a diverse and multi-cultural society. As of 2011, 46% of Australia’s 21.5 million population were either born overseas or had at least one parent born overseas. When these people enter the workforce they bring with them immense diversity from a range of cultures and backgrounds.
In 2012 Forbes conducted a study analysing varying elements of diversity from age, gender, education, income, migration, and more, to determine the top 50 countries with the highest amount of workplace diversity. The top five ranked countries were Norway, New Zealand, Iceland, Australia, and Switzerland. After deep analysis, these five countries were found to be the most diverse when it came to their employees.
At the other end of the scale, the lowest five countries include Poland, Pakistan, Hungary, Turkey, and, the Czech Republic. Of the 50 countries ranked, these five showed the lowest amount of diversity in their workplace environments.
In the middle of the spectrum, Indonesia ranked 22nd, followed by Germany, Belgium, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates. While it is important to consider the customs and economic standing of these countries when analysing the rankings, it is ultimately the individual companies that decide who they will hire, and for what reason.
The key for a modern company is to see diversity in the workplace as crucial, not only for individual development of your employees but for the benefit and growth of your organisation as a whole.
5 ways you win from having a diverse workplace
1. Mutual respect among employees:
Working with a variety of people fosters respect among co-workers who start to understand and empathise with each other and their differences. Colleagues can acknowledge the varied strengths and weaknesses that each person brings to the team.
2. It grows your talent pool:
Embracing a wider range of applicants will increase the likelihood of attracting people with a wide range of talents and abilities that will help your company grow and thrive.
3. Improves employee performance:
There is a greater chance that your employees will feel comfortable in an environment that they deem to be inclusive. If they don’t feel singled out or alone in the workplace they are more likely to feel encouraged to complete their best work and achieve greater goals.
4. Increased creativity:
People who come from all walks of life think differently to each other. With a diverse group of minds working together to collaborate on ideas and strategies for your company, you will generate out of the box ideas that will inspire each other, and your clients.
5. Creates a positive reputation for your company:
A company that openly hires people with diversity in mind is looked upon favourably by the public. People will consider you to be a good employer who treats staff equally and with respect. Generating this positive reputation will attract more staff applying to work for you because they deem your business a great place to work.
How to stand out in a diverse workplace
Diversity is important, but you need to have the skills that will act as your professional foundation. If you are looking to work for a progressive company that is hiring a diverse workforce, upskilling might be the thing that gets you over the line. Completing an online diploma in management, leadership, human resources, or many other options could give you the skills needed to help you land the jump into a multi-cultural environment. Having these extra skills will make you an attractive candidate for anyone looking to hire.
Although the workforce looks different now to what it did ten or more years ago, there are substantial benefits from employing diversely. Soon it will be considered normal for companies across the globe to actively recruit people from all cultures, genders, backgrounds, ages, and ethnicities to drive their business into the future. The face of the workforce might be changing, but it is certainly changing for the better.