Reasons Why Organizational Diversity Matters
Organizational diversity is no longer quite the hot topic that it once was. Before many larger institutions like the University of California started phasing out Affirmative Action programs based on race, organizational diversity was a topic of intense discussion in terms of societal impact. Having a varied group of individuals within an organization is important for practical reason as well however.
Here are some of the benefits of having an organization that incorporates a broad section of society:
- It looks good: Although this should never really be the main reason why you seek to achieve organizational diversity, a company that includes a broad section of races, classes, religions, ethnicities and genders will be viewed as a place where everyone is given an equal shake and where people can be rewarded based on performance rather than on who they know and where they call home. Of course, this only works if the diversity of the company or institution stretches to the highest levels of the organization. A few token representatives at the lower levels of the company are unlikely to fool anyone for long.
- Helps Foster Innovative Thinking: If you are a company, school or group that relies on its members continuing to come up with new and innovative ideas, then having a cross section of people from different background can really help members of the organization come up with new ideas. Many institutions get stuck into one model of thinking and soon become outdated and moribund. When you have an organization where young and old, black and white, believers and atheists, and men and women mix together, new ideas and different perspectives get aired and often incorporated into projects in positive ways.
- Creative Tension Increases Energy Levels: One of the main reasons many HR Representatives don’t like to recruit people of varied backgrounds is because of the tensions such hiring’s can create when people of different backgrounds interact. What such HR persons neglect to notice is that often this kind of interaction and the tensions they may cause are actually helpful in creating a greater sense of energy in the workplace. Workers who are slightly uncomfortable together will often be spurred both to work harder and ultimately to bond.
Diverse Work Force Diverts Problems: Diversity in the workplace can also help to head off problems since people of a certain group may be able to foresee problems within their own communities and thus save a company problems that may threaten a new campaign.
- Helps a Company Grow: A diverse workforce is also a key for growing companies and organizations. Not only does such a workforce help attract others just because people feel they will get a fair shake, but having workers from diverse backgrounds and regions can help promotion in areas where an HR person might not naturally look.
- Decreases Costs: A company that has many workers of one age or demographic is more prone to having one kind of problem be so severe that it cripples the company. For example, a company where virtually all the workers are older may find that institutional knowledge is lost when several workers come up for retirement at the same time. Older workers also tend to command a higher salary and want more stability, which can be a drain on the company’s capital. Younger workers, on the other hand, tend to lack loyalty, so a company with lots of young workers may find that they have a revolving door of workers that always need to be replaced constantly.
- Because it is good in itself: Finally, the main reason to hire a diverse group of workers is that it is just the right thing to do. People should, as Martin Luther King said, “Be judged by the content of the character and not the color of their skin.”