Importance of Cultural Diversity in The Workplace

13 December, 2020

Nowadays, most businesses are going global, and it is not likely to change anytime soon. The success of these companies depends on the workforce and the value they bring. This reason makes cultural diversity a top priority for most organizations.

People from different backgrounds came together to contribute to organizational success. Interacting with people from various ethnic and cultural groups promotes a positive work environment.

Embracing cultural diversity in the workplace is essential for every business that wants to establish its brand value. This is why many organizations have implemented diversity and inclusion programs in their organizations.

Before we look into the importance, let’s understand what we mean by the word cultural diversity?

What is cultural diversity in the workplace?

Cultural diversity in the workplace refers to hiring employees from different backgrounds, regardless of race, gender, and culture. When companies include and retain a diverse pool of people, it brings multiple benefits to the company and the employees.

The human race is formed of diverse people with distinct experiences and skills. Disregarding someone because of who and what they are can make you lose out on great talent.

Types of cultural diversity in the workplace

Diversity amongst workers refers to a diverse group who have experienced discrimination. Implementing and following a diversity and inclusion program helps these employees overcome such barriers a work.

Diversity can mean a lot of things. Here are some of the different types of diversity in the workplace.

Race- Perhaps, racial identification is one of the first things when we think about diversity. Race defines people belonging to different groups based on skin color, genetic inheritance, and geographical origin. Workers of color have often faced challenges, such as hiring obstacles and discrimination by peers to not getting due credit for their work.

Ethnicity- Ethnicity refers to people belonging to a social group that has a common national or cultural tradition. With companies turning global, diverse races and ethnicities might bring language barriers or clash in a diversity of thoughts while carrying out operations. Some companies have special ethnic groups like the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for oppressed communities to cater to this issue.

Gender- As per the World Economic Forum data, It will take 208 years for the U.S to reach gender equality. Gender is a pivotal part of cultural diversity in the workplace. And to remind you, gender is what people identify as irrespective of the gender assigned at birth.

Religion- Cultural diversity is vital to promote religious equality and tolerance in the office. It impacts workers’ dress, dietary requirements, and religious holidays.

Sexual Orientation- The LGBTQIA+ community has faced immense discrimination throughout. They represent different sexualities and gender identities and thus have unique needs and experiences. Companies need to keep this in mind while creating LGBTQIA strategies to address their issues. The Supreme Court of the United States also ruled that the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sex discrimination, applies to discrimination against LGBT folks.

People with disabilities- Companies that support cultural diversity must give equal opportunities to workers with disabilities. Whether impairments from vision, learning, or mental health. Diversity and inclusion programs will do wonders to ensure diligence towards such workers.

Benefits of Cultural Diversity in the Workplace

In this first world era, technology and globalization are blooming, and along with that, many companies are making an effort to implement a diverse work culture. We must remember the protesters who fought for the justice of George Floyd, who was killed for just being black. Employers must show a similar kind of empathy and compassion towards every employee to promote diversity in the workplace.

To implement a successful cultural diversity process in the workplace, employers must know its benefits and refrain from cultural insensitivity.

Let’s take a look at the benefits that cultural diversity brings to the workplace.

Higher Team Performance

Cultural diversity in the workplace helps to increase productivity at work. Diversity is all about bringing different beliefs, values, and norms together for talents to work on a common goal. Team members will learn and grow through sharing each other’s experiences and apply them to work to their work.

Employees from different sorts of backgrounds get to learn from their colleagues’ experiences from a different perspective. You enable them to bring fresh ideas to their assignments by thinking out of the box, resulting in increased productivity.

We must remember that a diverse workplace includes employees from different backgrounds, races, and ethnicities, and when they work together, it breeds a productive work environment.

Creativity

The second significant benefit of cultural diversity is the boosting of creativity in the team and concludes to a more diverse set of solutions to specific issues.

Many solutions will occur when so many different groups of people with diverse ideas come together and work. Every individual has their way of thinking, operating, decision-making, and problem-solving skills. Employers and companies who promote diversity in the workplace inspire their workforce to perform to their highest potential.

Increases profits

Many studies have found that having a diverse work culture can lead to greater profits for the company.

As per the 2013 survey of the Centre for Talent Innovation, 48 percent of organizations in the US with a diverse workforce showed improvement in their market share compared to the previous year.

For a global company language diversity can be an excellent strategy to bring in new clients.

For example, companies dealing with India’s businesses hire people fluent in major Indian languages to increase their reputation in the Indian communities. Such strategies can surely increase sales resulting in improved profits.

Inspires trust and respect

We think there’s no better way to learn about various cultures and ethnicity than from colleagues who come from different backgrounds. Why research about them online?

While your workers are on a lunch break or after work drinks with their colleagues, conversations will flow. Promoting a diverse work culture is all about employees getting to know more about their lifestyle and culture.

Communication amongst employees about their life experiences, backgrounds, and festivals builds a sense of trust and respect.

This automatically increases employee engagement and sometimes motivates them, which is an achievement for the company.

Employer Branding

Cultural diversity in the workplace reflects positively on company reputation. Companies that attract and hire people from a wide range of backgrounds can see a boost in their employer branding.

A diversity-based company is generally considered to be on-par with the times. As a result, top talents, investors, and clients are a shoo-in.

A diverse pool of skill sets and experiences allows a company to provide genuine service to customers globally. Diversity employees will bring a stellar and personalized customer experience to your client base.

Wide range of skills

With a diverse workforce comes diverse skills. When companies hire people from all sorts of backgrounds, they will bring their specific talents and abilities.

Companies often enjoy a versatile range of products and services to offer their respective markets a more comprehensive range of skills and knowledge. It won’t be wrong to say diversity in work culture means diversity in skills.

Reduces discrimination and harassment

Often people suffer different types of workplace harassment and discrimination (like sexual, verbal, racial, etc.), and implementing a diverse work culture can reduce any sorts of unwarranted activities in the company.

Companies must implement a diversity and inclusion program to eradicate negative emotions, racism, homophobia, sexism, etc., in the workplace. With cultural diversity, employees will respect each other, accept their differences, and make work fun and engaging.

Summary

Next, when you plan to hire new employees, consider making an effort to engage a diverse group of people across racial and ethnic identities, sexualities, and cultural backgrounds. By doing so, your organization will be able to avail the benefits of cultural diversity.

This article is written by Gautam Gayan. He works as a Content Marketer at Vantage Circle. Apart from being a passionate content creator for HR services and employee engagement, Gautam is a theatre enthusiast, an avid reader and an aspiring poet. For any related queries, contact editor@vantagecircle.com