Having spent Sunday morning in a modern cafe, located in the city centre of London, I realized that I had suddenly found myself in the middle of a diverse, multicultural working environment...for baristas, waiters, assistant managers and supervisors were all of different ethnicities. Intrigued by this inspiring view of mixed men and women (of a surprisingly 50%-50% pro rata) of different ethnic origins, I could clearly see a principle of diversity standing at the forefront of this workplace's culture and strategy.
The more the time went by, I was even more persuaded that, if their jobs didn't require physical skills, I would probably have seen a wider age range, too. It was at that time that I couldn't help but wondering...what still makes some employers stand against valuing diverse working individuals? What makes them refuse to turn their companies into inclusive organisations, in a globalized world, where modern, knowledge-based and highly-competitive organisations are generating greater productivity and performance by employing a diverse workforce?
In order to set a more concrete context of why diversity rules deserve a chance nowadays and should be of consideration to every HR professional, I should firstly highlight the potential positive outcomes associated with a diverse workforce. Managing and promoting diversity can be an incomparable competitive asset for organizations, since a variety of employees can guarantee greater creativity, performance and effectiveness. People are supposed to be the key asset of a company because of their minds, their knowledge, their competences, their experiences, their thoughts. It, thus, becomes apparent that, from a more diverse pool of human minds, employers can benefit from a wide variety of thoughts, ideas, skills, abilities and expertise.
In the meantime, embracing diversity can provoke a wider impact on global economy, provided that it can boost economic growth. Human capital can grow, ensuring that women or men, gay or transgender individuals, ethnic minorities or differently aged people can enter the job market and be considered as equally competitive to others. When it comes to recruitment, it is more than certain that employers are attracting the most qualified candidates when having a more diverse pool of candidates to choose from. After the initial recruitment steps, recognizing the value of diversity at the workplace can enrich and improve the standards and quality of a working environment. It can also provide innovative or alternative ideas, that enhance creativity and problem-solving, mutual trust and respect, that improve employee morale, or even greater teamwork and collaboration, that embrace knowledge transfer, cooperation, communication and performance.
In such a fast-paced environment, where companies seem almost desperate to find new ways of remaining updated and competitive, flexibility and adaptability to new market needs is a must. Companies that incorporate people of different backgrounds, with different experiences and views are certainly going to target a wider market. New market trends have also created the necessity of new laws against discrimination for companies that do not yet recognize the value of each individual. People with different values, beliefs and personalities are needed now more than ever, if we are about to make one step further in this globalized economy. It's a new rule, created for humans by humans, so that people are protected and treated fairly. As businesses continue to grow, it's important to harness the talents and competences of every single person who is capable of doing his/her job properly and effectively.
And a bit of a tangent here...
At the end of the day, we are all people of the same world, struggling to survive in a competitive market, where we get recognized or rewarded, blamed or penalized only for our performance, actions, thoughts and doings!