As our society continues to grow and change, the workplace also evolves to be representative of a diverse population. Successful, forward-thinking leaders understand that it is essential to be able to work with people who have different backgrounds, beliefs, attitudes or traditions than themselves.
Diversity in the workplace has the potential to create a strong team with a wide range of experiences and skills. It can also broaden the worldview of an organization, which is appealing to clients and customers.
A 2009 study published in the American Sociological Review also found that companies employing a staff of both genders and diverse racial backgrounds experience more positive business outcomes, including increased revenue, customer numbers and profitability.
The study, conducted by sociologist Cedric Herring, interim head of the sociology department at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a professor of sociology and public policy at the University of Illinois’ Institute of Government and Public Affairs, found:
- Companies reporting the highest levels of racial diversity took in an average of almost 15 times more sales revenue than companies with the lowest levels.
- Businesses with the highest rates of employing both genders had an average of $644.3 million in sales revenue, compared with $45.2 million from businesses with the lowest rates.
- Companies with the highest rates of racial diversity reported an average of 35,000 customers compared to 22,700 average customers in companies with the lowest rates.
- Businesses with larger rates of employing both genders reported an average of 15,000 more customers than those with the lowest rates.
- Racial heterogeneity was a better way to determine sales revenue and customer numbers than the company’s age, size or number of employees at a given work location.
A diverse team of employees brings many benefits to an organization, but stereotypes or misconceptions can stand in the way of effective teamwork and communication. It is important to examine our own attitudes honestly and work toward empathy, understanding and cooperation.
The EDSI Discovering Diversity Profile is a confidential and powerful tool that employees can use to explore their own attitudes through the following areas: knowledge, understanding, acceptance and behavior. The behavioral style assessment helps employees determine their own comfort level with others from different backgrounds and guides them to treat colleagues with respect, empathy and awareness.
How do you encourage diversity awareness in your organization?
Learn more about the Discovering Diversity Profile.