25. May 2022 By Julia Thimmel
Diversity in the workplace
Definition of the term ‘diversity’
Communicating and acting diversely means taking into account the different characteristics and lifestyles of individuals or groups of people. However, these are very extensive, and their dimensions at the internal, external and organisational levels are difficult to implement in everyday life, as is illustrated in the following chart. In addition, overlaps of individual dimensions occur, which is why a clear assignment is often not possible.
According to studies by KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers GmbH, diversity in the corporate context is a sustainable and economic success factor that companies need to remain competitive. In my blog post, I would like to explain to you in more detail what advantages diversity offers in the corporate context.
Diversity in the workplace
Social movements such as #MeToo or Black Lives Matter have taken to social media to raise awareness of the lack of equality for people of different genders, backgrounds, physical disabilities or sexual orientations. The developments have both changed the awareness of individuals and the professional sphere, and have made society aware of the need for diversity.
Diversity in the workplace means being able to develop all professional potential regardless of gender, origin, physical impairment or sexual orientation. The quota of women on supervisory boards or the wage gap between men and women are often mentioned in the same context. Yet the topic of diversity in the workplace is just as complex and extensive as the name implies. Equally, the topics of diversity recruiting, equal opportunities and fairness, diversity-friendly occupational health and safety, an age-appropriate working environment and the preparation and comprehensible presentation of safety and operating instructions for all employees (inclusion) also form part of the picture. The list could go on and on, which shows how comprehensive diversity actually is in the professional context.
The advantages of diversity in companies
But what are the actual advantages of diversity in the corporate context? The advantages are as multi-faceted as the topic itself.
Employee satisfaction increases through the use of diversity measures in the company. Taking everyone in the company into account by taking everyone’s interests seriously strengthens everyone’s sense of belonging, thus establishing an environment that promotes overall satisfaction. This in turn leads to a positive development and positively influences the motivation and productivity of the employees.
As a result, employees are more motivated and productive and, consequently, exhibit a higher profitability. Several studies – including McKinsey (2020): Diversity wins: How inclusion matters (mckinsey.de) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (2019): zia_diversitystudie_20191.pdf (zia-deutschland.de) – have shown that diversified companies are more likely to be profitable than those with less diversity among their employees. According to the study, there is a particularly high potential for profitable growth in companies with a strong mix of employees in terms of gender and ethnic origin.
Another factor that reinforces profitability is the lower staff turnover associated with a diverse working environment. Employees who feel noticed and respected are less likely to change their employer. The higher the acceptance and inclusion in a working environment, the more comfortable people feel at work, resulting in longer employment relationships.
Low staff turnover improves the external image and hence the reputation of an employer. In this context, companies with a high level of diversity among their employees are often perceived as ‘better employers’ as this indicates tolerance and acceptance of different socio-cultural backgrounds.
In addition, a good reputation has a positive impact on recruiting. The best talents opt for a company with a good image because they have positive expectations. In addition, potential new employees want to be tolerated and treated fairly. Good employees, in turn, have a positive influence on the public image and profitability of a company.
Last but not least, a diverse working environment has a positive influence on the innovative and competitive drive of a company. People with different ways of thinking and perspectives derived from a diversity of backgrounds and experiences can come up with more creative, viable solutions to problems than is possible in homogeneous groups. Owing to the variety of perspectives, processes and products can be developed more inclusively and for a potentially larger clientele.
In summary, diversity in the workplace is a very complex, ongoing issue. Moreover, the topic is continuously evolving and becoming increasingly fine-grained. Companies with a proper diversity strategy can generate a win-win situation for all parties involved. Both the employees and the company benefit from higher satisfaction, lower staff turnover, equal opportunities and fairness, a better public image, higher competitiveness and ultimately higher profitability.
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