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The value of diversity

The value of diversity

There’s a reason Australia prospers, one of the reason is because of our diversity and multiculturalism.

Should your workplace be taking on this approach as well? to ensure all different views and ideas are available?

barack obama change GIF by Obama

While plenty of businesses big and small have moved with the times, stale and ineffective culture still sees some bosses ignoring the wide range of talent at their disposal, to their detriment.

We’ve already written about the value of hiring older applicants and there are enormous benefits to be had by hiring those from other groups instead of limiting potential applicants to those who look more like you.

Diversity

Myths still abound that workers from overseas (don’t have “local” experience) have a poor work ethic or aren’t interested in contributing to workplace culture.

On the contrary, hiring workers from a range of cultural backgrounds can and does improve perspectives on a wide range of issues. Unique connections to various communities can also give your organisation an edge.

When we hired Manisha from India last year, she had no experience in recruitment but she still had exactly what we were looking for: the right attitude.

Manisha comes in every day with a huge smile on her face because she is so passionate about what she does here. She also has phenomenal determination and never stops trying to improve what she can deliver for us.

Backwards thinking that she couldn’t offer us anything would have harmed us enormously.

For a larger business, diversifying your workforce will only improve its output. Australia is blessed with a multicultural society and this should be embraced in the workplace too.

Women

Unconscious bias is still rife in hiring practices. A multitude of studies has found that all other factors being equal, men are more likely to be hired than women with identical resumes.

We can’t keep languishing in the 60s and pretend the workplace is a male domain.

Cutting out half the world’s population from the field of possible applicants severely limits the talent that could allow your business to thrive.

Mining giant Rio Tinto has instituted policies to address this.

As the company’s WA Iron Ore chief executive told WAtoday, increasing female representation now will also increase applicants in the field in years to come.

Clearly, hiring more women doesn’t limit a company’s potential, it grows it, and everyone else should take note.

Disability

People with disabilities still carry a stigma that they are inadequate compared with their peers but the facts tell a different story.

According to the Australian Public Service, employees with disabilities:

  • Take less sick leave and stay in jobs for longer than other workers
  • Have fewer compensation incidents and accidents at work compared to other workers
  • Build strong relationships with customers
  • Boost workplace morale and enhance teamwork

Conforming to old ideas that disabled employees are best suited to unskilled work and will not ‘fit in’ to traditional workplace culture has no place today.

Knowing the benefits that people with disabilities can bring to your company, there is no logical reason not to hire them if they fit the bill.

Young people

Young people may lack experience but they make up for it in determination. A black and white view of a resume fails to consider the benefits that come with someone eager to impress.

It’s also exciting to take advantage of an opportunity to nurture up and coming talent. If you want your industry to head in a certain direction, instil that culture in those who will carry the torch in future.

youth i was a teenager once GIF by SVU

We were all young once and it’s worth letting today’s talent foster under your leadership.

Broaden your thinking

A group of people who all look and act the same are never going to come up with as many strategies and ideas as a group full of men and women, young and old, regardless of cultural background or able-bodiedness.

The fact is that diversifying your team by hiring a wider variety of employees will make for a more resourceful, adaptable and inclusive company. That alone will make even more people want to come onboard.