Hello, and welcome to another blog post! Today, we’re talking about diversity and why it matters in the workplace. You may think you won’t learn anything because you already know all the reasons to have a diverse workplace, but perhaps you might consider sitting back, relaxing, and reading a bit to widen your perspective. Get cozy, and let’s get going!
Having diversity in the workplace matters for more than getting a shiny badge or fulfilling requirements set forth by some government entity. Diversity, as far as this article is concerned, doesn’t only mean race; we’re also talking about age here, so stay with us.
We’ll start with an example and branch out from there. Let’s say all these companies make and sell quilts.
Company A has fifteen employees. Everyone on staff has been there since the dawn of time. They’re all little, gray-haired, Caucasian women who love the colors pink and mint green. Their logo is of an old quilting pattern in, you guessed it, pink and mint green. They’ve done a brisk business for the past twenty years, but their sales are starting to suffer. They have no website, no electric machines (everything is done with needle and thread), no social media, and all their usual customers have bought what they wanted and moved on (or passed on—your choice). Staff meetings are potluck dinners and crochet.
Company B also has fifteen employees. They have a CEO that’s been there since the dawn of time. Their turnover rate is sky high, and their staff is made up of younger females (typically between age sixteen and twenty, and typically also Caucasian). They have a website that isn’t updated regularly, a Facebook page that also isn’t updated regularly, they have electric machines that are always breaking, they spend no money on marketing, and their staff meetings consist of pizza and everyone talking over one another all the time. Their business struggles to survive.
Company C has only ten employees. They also have a CEO who’s about age sixty, but she’s one of those ladies who listens and learns constantly. She decided long ago to purchase and use electric machines and has them serviced regularly. They have a huge and current social media presence, a website, and have a webmaster on staff—which consists of a range of ethnicities and ages. While retention isn’t great, their CEO is always careful about the person she hires to replace someone who left. Staff meetings consist of brainstorming new ideas for fresh social media updates and sharing ideas for streamlining processes. Their business is thriving.
Now, it’s clear why Company C is outperforming A and B, but the biggest difference between the three is the staff meeting where people share ideas. People who look the same and come from a similar background as everyone else don’t bring new ideas to the table. Therefore, their companies get stuck in a rut.
CEOs who aren’t willing to change or learn are also a problem. In order to stay relevant, a company must be willing, and able, to embrace new things as they appear in the market. Company C is all over social media with updates all the time about quilting, how to quilt, videos of their staff smiling and working, and blog posts with informational walkthroughs. Customers are smitten with the process and the people, and that keeps the money rolling in.
There’s something to be said for doing things the same way they’ve been done for thousands of years, but those things will always need to be changed slightly when there’s a new avenue that overrides arcane technology. Costs need to be kept manageable, and a smart CEO is one who recognizes the need and moves with the tide.
New ideas come from many places. One is with age. Older and younger people will have very different ideas about how to accomplish something or change a process for the better. Another is with ethnicity. People from different backgrounds don’t think the same way. They don’t have the same processes, and oftentimes, new processes change businesses for the better.
So, the next time you’re in a meeting about what to do or how to accomplish some task you’ve already outlined, maybe ask someone other than the person usually giving the ideas. Encourage someone older or younger to speak up, or seek ideas from someone from a different culture than yours.
If you’re the hiring manager or recruiter, seek out people who don’t fit the usual mold. Shake things up a bit. It could be the difference between success and failure—or stagnation, which is worse, in our opinion.
You might just find a golden egg hidden among the reeds and take your business to a level you never imagined.
We hope you enjoyed this post and that it gave you some ideas about why diversity is so very important to growing businesses. If you’re feeling froggy, stick around and read some of our other posts. After all, you never know what you might kick out of the trenches. Thanks for reading, and we’ll see ya next time!