Written by Zainab Al Radhi
Diversity in the workplace has grown over the years with the increase of globalization in the world. I used to live in the Middle East, but have traveled to many different countries growing up, which helped me interact with different groups of people and build strong foundations of trust and respect and have a better understanding of other cultures. Understanding people and their backgrounds is vital to personal, community, and professional growth. Research even shows that diversity in a workplace is crucial as it helps companies make better business decisions. In fact, “diverse teams make better decisions up to 87% of the time.” As an early PR professional I believe that it is important to look for diversity in a workplace before applying to a job. It is vital for brands to have equitable, diverse, and inclusive (EDI) policies for hiring, mentoring, daily interactions etc. Diversity must also include a variety of thoughts, such as being open to changing current practices and respecting other people’s opinions etc.
Diversity keeps us healthy
Diversity cuts across all facets of our lives and it plays a significant role when it comes to the workplace. Workplace diversity encourages teams to have open, transparent dialogue and promotes new ways to be creative with their work. Diversity keeps us physically, financially, professionally, and emotionally healthy. When we live, work, and even play in culturally diverse communities, we are healthier. This is why we need diversity. I have noticed a diversity gap in the workplace here in Canada and this led me to read more about diversity and why it is important. Without diversity, it would be difficult to achieve harmony in group settings. I love multiculturalism and learning about other people’s cultures helps me understand people better.
I believe that diversity in the workforce strengthens a company’s reputation and brand with its audiences. For instance, I have witnessed Nike’s support for the Black Lives Matter movement go beyond generic statements as Nike has pledged money, time, and resources to support the Black community in the U.S.. Companies who are committed to creating and fostering cultural diversity are seen as more socially responsible organizations. This helps organizations stand out from others because they engage in meaningful conversations about race and injustice.
To further this point, a 2018 study from Edleman shows that 64% of consumers are more likely to support brands who engage in some kind of activism. This point also rings true for employees deciding whether they choose to work for a specific company. Studies have indicated that job seekers are attracted to firms with diverse workforces as it is publicly apparent that these firms do not practice employment discrimination. This should be another incentive for an organization to promote diversity training and educational opportunities to understand how they can be more culturally sensitive and inclusive at work.
A variety of thought
Workplace diversity ensures a variety of different perspectives. It brings together diverse abilities, all working for a common purpose, using different skills sets. In an environment where inclusiveness is a priority, employees are more likely to feel comfortable and happy. Workplace equality is vital in encouraging workers from all backgrounds to feel confident in their abilities and attain their goals. The higher the morale of the staff, the more successful the workplace is. This will also build respect and trust between workers. A recent study by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) found that, “increasing the diversity of leadership teams leads to more and better innovation and improved financial performance.” Companies that have more diverse management teams have 19% higher revenue due to innovation. This shows that diversity is an integral part of a successful revenue generating business.
Diversity of thought
During my internship with IABC Ottawa, I am seeing how the organization promotes diversity by connecting communication professionals together around the world. They embrace diverse perspectives, foster conversations, and celebrate differences and this adds to their success when honouring people’s unique experiences and viewpoints. Check out this newsletter from IABC Nashville Connector that talks more about their diverse community. Even though the President of the chapter does not identify as a Black, Indigenous, or a Person of Colour, she was able to use the organization’s platform to point to resources and support for the communications community to talk about race in the workplace. Treating people respectfully, valuing diversity, and making individuals feel accepted is important and therefore organizations should have equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) statements at a bare minimum, like The International Association of Business Communicators’ (IABC) EDI statement here.
As an intern with the IABC Ottawa chapter, I have always felt very valued and respected, as my colleagues are always willing to listen to my ideas. This made me enjoy the work I was hired to do that much more. It is always vital for privileged people to welcome a diverse set of voices and opinions and to actively seek those options out and make room for them to be heard.
Diversity in the workplace continues to play an important role in the success of companies around the world. It is not only beneficial for employees, but also for the well-being of the company to have a diverse workforce if they want to develop or improve processes and their relationships with their audiences. A diverse workplace empowers people to be the best, most authentic versions of themselves, and allows companies to improve their productivity and creatively levels and fosters a safe space for their employees.