Innovation by inclusion: The benefits of diversity in the workplace

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Almost everybody agrees that more diverse workforces are a good thing for Australian businesses. What's a little more complicated, however, is breaking down the benefits of diversity in the workplace, and making use of these to improve the way an organisation operates.

Fortunately, the last few years have seen the publishing of several different studies which more clearly define exactly how diversity in the workplace can improve corporate performance, and why it's so important to keep it in mind when recruiting new employees.

Why is it important to have a diverse workforce?

Research from the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth) outlines several different ways that diversity in the workplace can benefit business. The most important of these are better employee performance, increased productivity, improved staff wellbeing and a far lower risk of discrimination or harassment. The last point is particularly important, with VicHealth's data also revealing that one in five Australians has experienced racial discrimination at work. 

This kind of behaviour is the complete opposite of what makes for a successful working environment, and by reducing the potential for such discrimination to occur, business leaders can make a tangible change that will only improve their organisation. 

Increased diversity plays a significant role in driving innovation in the workplace.

Fostering innovation with a diverse workforce

Another important takeaway from recent research is that increased diversity plays a significant role in driving innovation in the workplace. In fact, a Forbes Insights survey on the subject found diversity to be one of the most significant factors to boosting innovation, as well as a critical component of being commercially successful. 

The survey collected information from more than 300 executives, all of whom worked at global enterprises with annual revenues of over US$500 million. When presented with the statement that "A diverse and inclusive workforce is crucial to encouraging different perspectives and ideas that drive innovation," 48 per cent of respondents 'strongly agreed,' while an additional 37 per cent 'somewhat agreed'.

When surveyed, Debbie Storey, Senior Vice President of talent development and chief diversity officer at AT&T, explained: "At the end of the day, when you're creating an environment where people can come together and bring their own views and feel respected, your company will do so much better." 

For companies in the technology and digital spheres - where innovation, creativity and an ability to think outside the box are central to success - these findings make recruitment an invaluable tool. By making a concerted effort to secure the best employees from a range of different backgrounds, businesses can enjoy not only improved innovation, but a healthier, more inclusive working environment as well. 

To find out more, contact The Recruitment Company today

By Jen Roberts