The Importance of Diversity in the Workplace: The Power of Difference

February 27, 2018 Derek Heim


Everyday, we see article after article talk about the importance of having diverse workers in a business. But why is that? Findings show how inclusive teams make better business decisions up to 87 percent of the time. And … it’s just common sense. Businesses today need diversity and inclusion, just as badly as they need any other facet of their organization. Teams that are diverse regularly outperform those that are homogenous — says the Harvard Business Review — primarily because they process information more carefully, and from different viewpoints.

Cognitive diversity is a crucial factor that should make up any team, and seeking this out can be a strong business decision. Regrettably, this is something that all humans are naturally prone to reject. In a 2015 press release, Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer for Facebook, said that, “one of the most important things we can do to promote diversity in the workplace is to correct for the unconscious bias that all of us have. Studies show that job applicants with ‘black sounding names’ are less likely to get callbacks than those with ‘white sounding names’ — and applicants called Jennifer are likely to be offered a lower salary than applicants called John.”

So how can businesses work to promote a more inclusive and diverse company culture? It starts with a strategy.

Businesses everywhere have been working to develop a strong diversity and inclusion strategy. Leadership teams from many different industries strive to humanize the corporate experience. In fact, diversity was a huge topic at Dreamforce this past year, and a plethora of different sessions were focused on raising awareness to different marginalized groups. Technology companies were able to get firsthand accounts of what it means to be an inclusive company. Many organizations now have managers that oversee diversity and inclusion tactics, or a Diversity Committee that helps promote cultural awareness in a workplace. Appirio is no exception.

Patrice Jimerson, Sr. Program Manager of Diversity & Inclusion at Appirio, understands the impact that inclusion and diversity can have on a company’s culture. “Diverse teams are proven to be engaging,” says Jimerson. “And that drives satisfaction, a sense of purpose, and a willingness to use discretionary talent (skills that are not part of the job description).”

But inclusive measures and diversity do more than just boost employee engagement and satisfaction, they also help a business reach their annual profit goal. When an organization properly mirrors the communities they serve, “the organization is better able to proactively meet the needs of the end user of their products and/or services,” said Jimerson.  

Making your organization diverse and inclusive is the first step in creating a strategy that builds relationships in both the workplace and in the community. When the workers you employ have diverse backgrounds — and different ways of thinking — problems are solved with effective clarity.  

Do you want to discover more about the impact of having engaged employees? Download our eBook The Recipe for Worker Engagement.


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