How to Celebrate Diversity in the Workplace
Jan 12, 2021
We’ve come a long way since August 28, 1963, when Martin Luther King Jr. declared “I have a dream!” Progress has been made in the 57 plus years since, but MLK Day is an ongoing reminder to continue working towards that goal: a world without prejudice.
We like to think Elemental is an example of that progress. Diversity benefits both our personal lives but also our professional lives as well.
Today, let’s talk about the benefits of diversity and how you can celebrate it in the workplace.
The Story of Elemental
Elemental is a minority-owned company founded in 2016, with the mission of creating “functional, reusable products that sustain our environment and improve your life.” Elemental’s co-founders, Seth Inyang and Vinh Lieu are the prime example of a diverse team that’s encountered great success.
Seth grew up in the heart of America, learning the value of Midwest hospitality at a young age. His strong values translated into a desire to use his eye for design in a way that could benefit others. You can see this influence in Elemental’s philosophy that the company is about the people drinking the water, not just the container holding it.
Vinh’s early years in the countryside of Vietnam provided a unique perspective on the environment. He developed aspirations to make a difference in the world through the use of his advanced technical skills. Now, Elemental makes a difference by providing its customers with quality products that truly add value to their lives.
It’s easy to see how Vinh and Seth’s unique backgrounds and skill sets converged to create Elemental. But what are the other benefits of having a diverse workplace?
The Benefits of Diversity in the Workplace
Of course, one of the most obvious benefits of diversity in the workplace is that the company will enjoy a wide range of perspectives. But there are so many more advantages that come with celebrating diversity.
Diverse workplaces experience a boost in creativity.
With so many different world views coming together, there’s no shortage of creative approaches to reach a common goal.
Employees that work for diverse companies display improved performance.
When groups are more diverse, the sense of inclusion that comes along with diversity encourages employees to speak up and share their unique viewpoints. But when groups are more uniform and homogenous, employees tend to be nervous to voice their opinions.
Companies that embrace diversity tend to have higher profits.
Since more diverse teams tend to perform better, that high quality of performance is reflected in the company’s profits.
When companies are open to a diverse range of candidates, they can take advantage of a larger talent pool.
Choosing not to narrow down the pool of candidates allows companies to find the best person for the job.
Diverse workplaces are faster at problem-solving.
On the other hand, groups that are very cognitively similar take longer to solve problems.
Diversity gives companies a unique insight into their customer base.
With diverse employees that represent a variety of different consumer groups, companies can use their firsthand perspectives to make educated decisions regarding customers.
How to Promote and Celebrate Diversity
First, what does diversity mean, exactly? Although it’s a common buzzword, the way this concept is defined is unclear. In the context of the workplace, diversity refers to the inclusion of people with different characteristics. These characteristics include:
- Cultural background
- Sexual orientation
Oftentimes, we forget that diversity encompasses much more than just race and gender. But as discussed above, including people from a variety of backgrounds is enormously beneficial for businesses! So how should we go about fostering diversity in the workplace?
Display a genuine appreciation for employees’ uniqueness.
Many businesses are happy to hire a diverse group of employees, but that’s often where the efforts to foster diversity stop. The key is to create an atmosphere of inclusion, where all employees feel comfortable, valued, and free to share their own unique viewpoints. When you show appreciation for the uniqueness of your employees, it enables them to work at their highest potential.
Set goals intentionally.
Throughout the process of fostering diversity in the workplace, companies need to take a step back and consider their intentions. Why are you choosing to become more diverse? Is it simply for the boost in reputation? To have a varied group of employees? To benefit from different perspectives? By identifying your motives, you can make better decisions regarding the creation of a diverse workplace.
Don’t use a “one size fits all” approach.
Your company is unique, so your approach to embracing diversity needs to be unique too! It’s essential to be mindful of this as you make decisions regarding diversity and inclusion, rather than copying another successful business’s model.
Remain open to new perspectives.
It does no good to hire a diverse group of people and then fail to take their viewpoints into account. Especially in today’s often-tense social climate, it’s more important than ever to stay open-minded and ready to listen to the viewpoints of others, even if they differ from your own.
Remember that employees aren’t just workers.
At the end of the day, don’t forget that your employees are people! If you don’t take the time to truly appreciate your employees, it will be impossible to create an atmosphere that celebrates diversity and promotes inclusivity.