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The Importance of Cultural Diversity in the Workplace: How to Create an Inclusive Working Environment

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Creating an inclusive work environment is one of the main priorities for many companies. Putting employers in a position where if they want to keep up with candidates’ expectations, they must adjust their policies and adopt a modern mindset.  

Racial and ethnic minorities currently constitute 48% of Gen Z – the generation slowly taking over the workforce. It is predicted that this percentage will only grow with time, leaving businesses no choice but to tailor their hiring processes accordingly 

Why Does Cultural Diversity in the Workplace Matter?

The times when we all strived towards uniformity are over.  

Nowadays, diversity in all its forms is celebrated in various areas of our lives. According to research by Glassdoor, two out of three job seekers actively look for companies with diverse workforces. What’s more, the same source reports that 37% of candidates would choose not to apply for a job in a company whose ratings regarding ethnic or racial groups they find unsatisfactory. 

The conclusion is, therefore, quite simple.  

If companies want to keep expanding and carry out effective recruitment processes, they need to review the diversity policies they have in place. Whether they succeed will impact the number of applications they receive regarding open positions.  

Employers who want to attract candidates should not focus only on attractive salaries and unique benefits but also ensure the ethical aspect of their business is as flawless as possible. 

Interestingly, only 22 Fortune 500 companies made the data about diversity and inclusion publicly accessible last year. That constitutes a mere 0.4% of America’s largest, most successful companies. This has caused quite a turmoil, with many people previously interested in applying for positions in these top businesses deciding they’d instead look somewhere less prestigious but more open about their diversity policies. 

This is an opportunity for companies to make a name for themselves as inclusive, safe environments.  

80% of workers questioned for a study by Deloitte indicated that inclusion is important when choosing a new employer. When you juxtapose this rather high number with the small percentage of how many top companies make transparency regarding diversity in their business a priority, this is an excellent niche to develop to get ahead in the hiring game.  

The HR Generalist at Europe Language Jobs, Donato, said the following when asked about the importance of hiring diverse talent: 

“It’s all about overcoming prejudices and stereotypes: embracing diversity allows us to free ourselves from labels and biased judgments. It can be done through spreading multiculturalism – promoting diversity as a meeting point means teaching mutual respect”. 

How Diversity in the Workplace benefits Companies?

1) Improves the Recruitment Process

Given how the approach to diversity and inclusivity is becoming crucial for candidates, it is necessary to adjust to the job seekers’ demands and encourage them to apply for positions 

Multiple potential employees declare that when faced with a choice between two attractive offers, they will select one based on what they know about the company’s diversity policies. By creating an inclusive work environment, employers may increase the number of applicants and encourage them to choose their business over others as their new workplace.  

2) Increases Productivity

The beauty lies in our differences.  

Happy employees make for productive employees, and the previously-mentioned study by Deloitte revealed that 83% of Millennials are more likely to be fully engaged in their work if they operate within an inclusive working environment. 

What’s more, People Management states that workforce diversity positively impacts decision-making. 87% of the time, diverse teams were found to make better decisions in a professional setting than individual decision-makers.  

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3) Positively impacts the Company’s Performance

In this case, statistics speak for themselves.  

There is no better way to confirm a theory than to back it up with numbers. Josh Bersin proved that inclusive companies are 1.7 times more likely to be innovative. That was back in 2016, so given that the power of equality and diversity grows every year, it’s more than likely these numbers are significantly higher now.  
A recent article by Yahoo, on the other hand, reveals that the cash flow per employee is 2.5 times higher in diverse companies than in non-diverse ones. Creating a diverse team is, therefore, an investment in the employees’ satisfaction and the company itself. 

4) Boosts the Reputation of the Business

It’s not always the company choosing the employee – more and more often, it’s the employee choosing the company. Given that all a job seeker has to do is go on Glassdoor or Fishbowl to read all about a business’s reputation, employers should, now more than ever, make sure that the general outcome of what potential candidates find there is positive.  

78% believe that inclusion and diversity can give a business a competitive advantage (Deloitte). Ensuring that mentions of a diverse working environment come up among the company’s reviews is the key to success.  

How can Organizations promote Equality & Diversity in the Workplace?

1) Reevaluating Policies

When making plans for expansion and growing a business, employers should first analyze the current demographics of the workforce.  

Is it diverse? Is there any space for improvement? If so, where? 

Once the company develops this awareness, changes need to be made accordingly. In the upcoming hiring process, new policies about prioritizing representatives of ethnic or racial minorities can be given priority.  

A similar initiative was adopted by Creative Access, a platform for those operating in the creative sector. Their Positive Action scheme features opportunities restricted to candidates coming from under-represented groups.  

This is just an example of how diversity can be introduced into a business that may not have been that diverse initially. What’s important is to remember to maintain balance – an attempt at being inclusive cannot go so far. It would border on restrictive.  

The goal is, after all, to offer equal opportunities – not close some doors while opening others. 

2) Being Transparent

It is not enough to just introduce new policies.  

Businesses need to make sure the world hears about them. Promoting them on social media or dedicating a tab on the website to explain how they work will help spread the word to the right audience.  

What’s crucial here is to also stay true to the actual situation.  

Giving unrealistic statistics about diversity will do more harm than good. After all, there are employees currently working in the company who will be able to tell if the facts they see listed are true or not. Ensuring equality and inclusivity is not just for the sake of possible new candidates – it should also be focused on improving the experience of those already employed. 

3) Constant Improvement

Creating an inclusive workplace isn’t just about saying: there. We’ve hired this many employees representing different ethnical minorities. We are diverse now.  

Again, achieving diversity in the workplace is about finding balance and maintaining it. The workforce structure is dynamic; old employees leave, and new ones are welcomed all the time. An inclusive working environment improves employee retention but doesn’t erase the issue entirely.  

Therefore, becoming diverse – and staying diverse – is an ongoing process. 

A constant effort needs to be made not only to stay at the current level, but also to exceed it. As times change, so do expectations of the employees and candidates, and it’s the company’s job to keep up with them. Especially if they have the ambition to take the lead in their domain.  

Building a workplace based on inclusivity, diversity, and equality should become a priority for all modern businesses. This can be achieved through multiple different practices, based on the organisation’s capabilities. Going over the top isn’t the right way, but as long as any effort is made, both current employees and future candidates will appreciate it, which, in turn, will positively impact the business’s performance.  

Written by Lucyna Polok
Written by Lucyna Polok

Lucyna Polok is the Content Strategist at Europe Language Jobs. We’re the leading international platform for multilinguals looking for a job in Europe. Given our field of work, we understand the importance of cultural diversity and make it our mission to share this value.