Diversity in the workplace and why it’s important for your organisation’s success

Regardless of whether you are a small or large organisation, embracing workplace diversity starts with you as a leader. If you’re wondering where to start, you’re in the right place! Short Guides offer easy-to-access short courses to help you and your team develop diversity in your workplace.

What is a diverse workplace?

But first, here’s an overview of why diversity is important for your future success.

Many organisations throughout Australia have now implemented policies and initiatives to increase diversity in the workplace. These organisations are leading the way, demonstrating that diversity in their culture has improved productivity, reduced staff turnover, and created consistent revenue growth.

Diversity in the workplace means that you employ people from a wide range of backgrounds, regardless of gender, race, religion, sexuality, or other non-job-essential characteristics. Diversity has become an essential concept for workplaces to embrace. Diverse workplaces are fairer, more flexible, more dynamic, and very often more successful.

The Diversity Council of Australia define cultural diversity as follows:

“Cultural diversity means having a mix of people from different cultural backgrounds – it can include differences in cultural/ethnic identity (how we identify ourselves and how others identify us), language, country of birth, religion, heritage/ancestry, national
origin, and/or race.”

This cultural diversity definition recognises that:

    • Cultural diversity has multiple aspects.
    • Cultural diversity includes both objective and subjective aspects of people’s cultural background.
    • Cultural diversity includes cultural identity

Diversity Council Australia (O’Leary, J. and Groutsis D.), Cultural Diversity Definition, Sydney, Diversity Council Australia, 26 June 2020.

Why is diversity an ongoing concern?

A lack of diversity is usually not noticed by those who are in the majority. For example, a male will not necessarily notice that most of his co-workers are male. A white person of European background will not usually notice that there are very few or no persons-of-colour on the board of directors.

It is vital to the contemporary workforce to address these matters for two main reasons. First, because it is essential to building a fair and equitable society. And secondly, because diversity in workplaces, within leadership and in decision-making bodies, has been consistently shown to lead to considerably improved outcomes and decisions. Companies that are more diverse perform better financially, are more productive and have better access to in-demand talent. Equity through diversity is also now a legal requirement under many jurisdictions and statutes and it is important to be aware that discriminatory practices can lead to fines and even criminal proceedings.

What is the impact of a workplace culture that is not diverse?

In Australia, we’re all on the journey, even if at different stages, toward transparency and acceptance, in our communities, at home and at work. Therefore building diversity in the workplace has become an economic, moral, social and now a legal imperative.

The impact of not having a workplace that embraces diversity and culture today has immediate and long term effects.

  • Workers who feel discriminated against are much more likely to feel disengaged at work. Gallup analytics estimates the global economy loses $7 trillion a year to disengagement
  • A workplace that is discriminatory is usually very uncomfortable for all workers, not just those suffering the immediate effects of discrimination
  • Discrimination can lead to increased absenteeism and higher turnover of staff
  • Workplaces that are discriminatory for workers, are usually also discriminatory to customers/clients, and therefore potentially lose business.

Why does diversity matter?

Your people are the backbone of your organisation, and the reason your organisation succeeds in delivering its products and services. If your people are at ease, they will contribute more value and will naturally want to support and guide each other. Your customers will benefit from this improvement in overall productivity therefore cultural diversity strengthens your brand reputation too.

Organisations that are embracing diversity have already seen the following benefits:

Improved employee productivity
When your people feel like they belong, they will apply themselves to the task at hand with more commitment. They are more engaged, innovative and produce better quality work overall.

Attract top talent
Australians like to work in diverse workplace cultures and most job seekers today will look for companies with diversity as a quality. You’ll have a wider pool of candidates to consider for job openings.

Higher and more consistent revenue
Many studies now show that organisations that embrace workplace diversity have stronger financial performance, with 19% higher revenue on average, plus a larger market share of their industry.

Helping your workplace – take a diversity course

Why is diversity part of the workplace narrative? It is human nature to be cautious of anyone who is different to you. We are hard-wired to gravitate to those who are like us: in looks, language, culture, dress, habits, and often also gender-identity.

To change the minds of people in your workplace is a gradual process that begins with education, asking pertinent questions and providing a different point of view. Helping people understand that they are not wrong about the way they think, but evolving their thinking instead, is the most positive way to help your people embrace workplace diversity.

Let Short Guides be your guide, starting with a short 20 minute course comprising information, data and knowledge checks.

Expand your people’s human and social capital

Give your people the opportunity to contribute greater value to your organisation and help them improve teamwork, communication skills, problem-solving skills, work ethic, interpersonal skills and more.

Short Guides run in the background so there is no scheduling or management required. We maintain and update the library so that your employees are accessing the latest courses available, any time they want to.

You can find a list of our courses here: shortguides.com/courses/

Try our Creative Thinking course for free! Or contact us https://shortguides.com/enquire/ to find out how Short Guides can become part of your learning mix.

Start A Course Today: Diversity

Short Guides are an essential training add-on for any enterprise who is committed to the professional and personal development of their people.