Cultural Diversity in the Workplace

Blog / Cultural Diversity in the Workplace

What it is and How Your Company can Benefit from Cultural Diversity

Today’s business world is set on a global stage. Technology has made our world smaller and the ability to recruit the best people, no matter where they are. 

Millennials have ushered in a new age of cultural diversity in the workplace. And it’s not just a passing trend–it’s here to stay.

But what is cultural diversity? And why is it important in the workplace? Let’s dive into this extremely important topic.

What is Cultural Diversity and Why is it Important?

Culture is what shapes us. It is what shapes our beliefs, influences how we behave and is part of what gives us our identity. When we speak of cultural diversity in the workplace, it is about  encouraging an environment of inclusion and teamwork. 

Diversity is important for many reasons. First and foremost, it’s important to have a company that represents more of what the population looks like. Not everyone in your town is a cis white male between the ages of 25 and 55. And customers like companies that are socially aware! Being diverse can actually increase customer loyalty.

Second, having a diverse workforce can actually make your company, and your employees, more successful. We’ll dive into the benefits of a diverse workforce a little later in this article. 

Types of Workplace Diversity

To better understand what cultural diversity looks like, it’s important to understand all the forms of cultural diversity. In HR terms, here are a few of the primary types of diversity characteristics and some things to keep in mind:

  • Gender: women make up a large portion of the workforce, however there are still gaps in pay and women in leadership positions.
  • Race and Ethnicity: ethnic and racial identities continue to evolve and often the standardized forms with ethnic groups fail to hit the mark. 
  • LGBTQ+: this community includes a complex range of people in terms of backgrounds, experiences and challenges.
  • Age: both younger and older works can be discriminated against in terms of preconceptions.
  • Workers with Disabilities: this includes a wide range of differences, from the ability to form social relationships to physical disabilities.

The Benefits of Cultural Diversity in the Workplace

So we’ve taken a look at what diversity in the workplace is. But what are the benefits of having a diverse workforce in your company? People from different backgrounds and experiences will bring your company new or different perspectives. This can often help your company find the best answer to overcoming challenges your organization faces. This can lead to higher profits and more success for the organization as a whole. But an inclusive workforce can also simply mean happier employees too. And when employees are happy, they are more productive and creative! 

Let’s dive deeper into some of the benefits of having a culturally diverse workforce.

  • Boosts Productivity: a culturally diverse workforce empowers people to develop their talents and skills by learning from a more diverse set of colleagues. This in turn boosts productivity.
  • Boosts Creativity: with more diverse ideas comes more creativity. By creating an environment where all voices are heard, it stokes the fires of innovation and encourages people to contribute to the organization’s success.
  • Improves Recruitment: the vast majority of employees cite that diversity is important when considering taking a job with a company. By having a more diverse workforce, you can attract high level talent from across the globe. Besides attracting top talent, having a continued drive to achieve a diverse workforce can also help you retain that talent. 
  • Increases Employee Engagement: communicating with someo of a different culture or background connects you with someone on a more personal level. When employees engage with one another in this way, it can deepen their camaraderie and teamwork in the office. It can also help minorities in your office feel connected to the company. 
  • Improves Your Company’s Reputation: your company’s reputation is everything when it comes to customers; and many customers evaluate your company based on how diverse it’s workforce is. Not only does it bring customer loyalty, but a diverse workforce can improve customer service by being able to assist people in a way that is more personal because of shared experiences and understanding. 

Managing and Promoting Diversity in the Workplace

Cultural diversity in the workplace is a complex topic with many challenges. Your company will need to value cultural diversity, and those values start from the top down. The CEO needs to model those values and constantly reinforce them through policies. In other words, practice what you preach. 

Some things you can do to manage and promote workplace diversity include boosting your own cultural literacy and competency. Through your words and actions, encourage others to embrace different viewpoints. Then, be sure to offer implicit bias training to your employees and promote the use of mentors. Further, employees should be responsible for promoting diversity as well. This can include volunteering in organizations that serve the needs of underrepresented groups, holding team building exercises, and even organizing events celebrating their culture.