Why workplace diversity should matter to you

Diversity in the workplace is a popular phrase on LinkedIn and in HR departments—but it’s more than just a buzzword. Employing a diverse workforce benefits businesses in so many ways—products and services can be marketed on a global scale, employee retention rates can be improved, and employees can come from a larger talent base.

The benefits for businesses are clear—but what does workplace diversity mean for you, the employee?

A Forbes study showed that 85% of companies with a revenue of more than $500 million agree that diversity drives innovation. We’re not just talking about an ethnically diverse workforce, but also diversity in gender, race, religion, ability, and sexual preference. Being exposed to different people, including people from different cultures and with different ways of thinking, can directly benefit you, the employee, in more ways than one.

Six ways workplace diversity benefits employees

  1. You’re the best of the best

When your company expands its hiring pool to ensure diversity, the talents and skills of employees grows exponentially. When your company is invested in hiring the best of the best, you know you’re part of a smart, driven, and innovative community. For your company, this means an increase in market share and the ability to cater to more customers, leading to more money in each employee’s pockets. When the company is doing well, it’s in their best interest to make sure this is reflected in your paycheck, too.

Hiring the top talent from all over the world is a good step in the right direction for company growth in size and profits. As the company expands, so do job opportunities and career advancements. Being part of a diverse workforce can help you climb your company’s corporate ladder and give you many opportunities for growing your own success.

  1. You’re more productive

When solving problems, people often reflect on similar situations they’ve experienced before and how they worked through these situations. A diverse group of people will have different ways of solving the same problem. An advantage of working with people who have a variety of experiences is the opportunity to combine these experiences to create a better solution.

When you have a bigger pool of ideas to work with, you can produce faster results. In a diverse workplace, everyone brings to the table different skills and experiences that allow all employees to learn from one another and maximize each other’s strengths. Collaborating leads to more efficient and productive outcomes. You can take what you’ve learned from your team’s experiences and apply these lessons to future situations, helping you drive innovation in your company and become a more valuable team member.

  1. You’re appreciated

When you work for a company that respects and values a diverse workforce, you benefit from the mutual respect between management and colleagues. When you feel that your opinions, experiences, and skills are valued and appreciated, this is reflected in your work and your opinion of your workplace and the people in it.

Employee enthusiasm and drive are often benefits of a higher team morale. When a company includes and values all employees, they encourage in their employees a sense of pride and a willingness to do the best work possible. You may find coming to work each day easier when you know your company values you.

  1. You’ll stay longer

What is your ideal work situation? Good pay, advancement opportunities, smart and talented colleagues, and a company that values all you bring to the table? If you’ve read the first three benefits of this article, you know that these are all features of a diverse workplace. And when people are happy in their work situation, they’re more likely to stick around. Wouldn’t you?

Companies invested in diversity are invested in the people who make up their business. As an employee in a diverse company like this, you’re less likely to experience conflict or feel complacent and unfulfilled. Managers of diverse teams are more likely to pull from the experiences of all their team members, not just from a select few. You’re more likely to have a seat at the table when your management understands that everyone has valuable insights. When your work makes you feel fulfilled, you’re more invested in building your career in that company.

  1. You’re a better problem-solver

When you’re exposed to different viewpoints, you begin to challenge yourself to think outside the box and develop new perspectives and solutions. The way you see the world is often a product of your culture—imagine how much your world can open when your workplace helps you open your mind to others’ experiences, and see things from other people’s perspectives. In a diverse workplace, you can help create a better product or service that appeals to a larger group of people.

Decades of research by sociologists, psychiatrists, and economists all come to the same conclusion: Diversity inspires creativity and changes the way you think. Studies show you are more likely to be open and share thoughts and perceptions with a diverse group than with a group you perceive to be similar to yourself—this is often based on the assumption that a similar group will come to the same conclusions as you. When you’re part of a diverse group, you open yourself up to becoming a better problem-solver.

  1. You’re more engaged

Being exposed to different groups of people not only helps you in the workplace—it also helps you in other life situations. You develop a willingness to learn and connect with people who are different from you. You become skilled at conflict resolution because you develop a deeper understanding and respect for different perspectives. Your decision-making becomes more thoughtful and effective when you discover new ways to solve problems and face new challenges.

Diversity also benefits you because it pushes you to work harder, because you can no longer assume that others will agree with your perspective. Without this comfort, you start to question the status quo and become more engaged with the world around you.  

A few extra perks of workplace diversity

When you are surrounded by a diverse group of people on a daily basis, it not only affects your work atmosphere—it also brings positive influences into your personal outlook of the world.

  • When your company is inclusive, you may no longer feel the need to separate who you are at work and at home.
  • Better potlucks! You’ll discover so many different creative and delicious dishes to share.
  • You’ll get an insider perspective on international travel.
  • Many more holidays and celebrations to take part in.
  • Friendships that will expand your mind and the world you live in.

When you work in a diverse company, you have the opportunity to expand your perceptions and become more open to changing the way you think. It’s easy to see how a company made up of employees from all different backgrounds can find success with the ability to connect with a wide range of customers. That success also benefits you, the employee, by inspiring you to open your mind and become your best self at work and in your daily life. Working with a diverse group of people can help you in so many ways and contribute to your future success.

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