As workforce demographics shift and global markets emerge, workplace diversity inches closer to becoming a business necessity instead of a banner that companies wave to show their commitment to embracing differences and change. Employees reap tangible and intangible benefits from workplace benefits, not the least of which include respect from co-workers and business gains writes
Mutual Respect Among Employees
Workplace diversity fosters mutual respect among employees. Whether employees work in groups or teams comprised of co-workers with varied work styles, disabilities or who represent different cultures or generations, a synergistic work environment becomes the norm. Although an idyllic atmosphere may be difficult to achieve, employees nevertheless recognize the many strengths and talents that diversity brings to the workplace and they gain respect for their colleagues’ performance.
Conflict Reduction and Resolution
Conflict inevitably occurs in the work environment. However, employees who acknowledge others’ differences often also find similarities, particularly when there are common goals, such as production and quality. Respect for co-workers either reduces the likelihood of conflict or facilitates an easier road to conflict resolution.
The ability to resolve workplace conflict minimizes potential liability for employee complaints that would otherwise escalate to formal matters, such as litigation. Workplace diversity preserves the quality of employees’ relationships with their co-workers and their supervisors.
Business Reputation Enhancement
Diversity in the workplace is vital for employees because it manifests itself in building a great reputation for the company, leading to increased profitability and opportunities for workers. Workplace diversity is important within the organization as well as outside. Business reputations flourish when companies demonstrate their commitment to diversity through aggressive outreach and recruiting efforts.
An organization known for its ethics, fair employment practices and appreciation for diverse talent is better able to attract a wider pool of qualified applicants. Other advantages include loyalty from customers who choose to do business only with companies whose business practices are socially responsible.
Increased Exposure to Different Kinds of People
A diverse workplace offers more than exposure to employees from different cultures and backgrounds. Employees learn from co-workers whose work styles vary and whose attitudes about work varies from their own. This is particularly true for employees within multigenerational work environments, as well as those who work in environments that are accessible to those with disabilities.
Traditional-generation workers learn new technology and processes from workers who belong to the tech-savvy Millennial generation. Likewise, Generation X employees learn from exposure to the assertive, go-getter work ethic typical of many Baby Boomers.