How the New ‘Work From Home Revolution’ can Benefit Your Company’s Diverse Success
This has raised the question; should businesses return to an office environment? Or would it be prudent to embrace working from home? If the latter is indeed the path to take, it will be an ideal way to open up avenues for workers from differing backgrounds, an action already proven to be beneficial.
In 2020, McKinsey featured a study proving that companies who strive towards ethnic and racial diversity are 36% more likely to have financial returns above the average. This alone should be enough evidence that multiculturalism in the workplace will benefit a company, but we shall visit some of the reasons why this is the case.
(It is important to state that multiculturalism is not solely limited to ethnicities from around the world, but also includes people with disabilities, varying genders and sexual orientations)
A Wider Range of Applicants
Obviously, by allowing your staff to work from home, you are casting a wider net; when limited by a certain area, a business is likely to hire individuals of a similar class and background, a trait that is avoided when home office is an option.
Talent is of course not limited to location or income, and a company’s chance of finding the ideal person for the job is increased. If a person is disabled, it is unlikely that they will be able to make it to an office building every single day, but if they are able to work from the comfort of their house then they will be more likely to apply for a job, whereas they may have been previously overlooked.
Creating stronger bonds between employees and the company
It is a mark of a great business that they can retain their staff, forming bonds of loyalty and responsibility among colleagues. A non-diverse workplace is unlikely to foster this atmosphere and can potentially create a hostile work environment. For example, if a worker feels out of place or unwelcome in their job, the chances are higher that they will begin looking for a new position and ultimately leave.
Not only can this threaten the image of the company, but it also costs money; each time a new worker needs to be recruited, there is an inevitable price tag to the process that over time can begin to damage a business.
When traditionally marginalised individuals are able to work in a place that accepts them, this is less likely to be a problem and they will be more likely to remain. By operating a diverse workspace, there is likely going to be a greater sense of inclusion among workers.
This heightened commitment to a company will lead to an increase in employee engagement. As proven in Deloitte’s 2013 research: when workers feel accepted and part of a team, they are obviously more likely to engage more with the company culture, and thus better engagement can be seen as a direct result of inclusion and multiculturalism.
Working from home has already proven to not have a negative effect on productivity, and by embracing the multicultural approach that home office allows, productivity is highly likely to rise.
This is thanks to multicultural workspaces being able to solve problems faster. A study by Harvard Business Review revealed that due to differing views and experiences, problems can be tackled from different angles than in environments with employees of similar backgrounds.
The same is true of decision making; once again, employees with different backgrounds and experiences are able to pool their collective knowledge and make a better decision faster. In 2017, Cloverpop discovered that diverse teams of workers outperformed individual decision makers 87% of the time.
This productivity fueled by life experience also provides a boon to creativity; in contrast to a group of individuals of similar backgrounds, a diverse team of five is likely to look at the same thing in five different ways and thus produce a fresh take on an idea, thanks to a collection of worldviews and perspectives.
It is perhaps due to this that in 2015, Josh Bersin published an article that stated innovation leaders in their market are 1.7 times more likely to be inclusive companies.
A greater representation to customers and partners
As we progress into the 21st century, we are witnessing a revolution of identity; more and more individuals are opening up about who they are and where they come from, and businesses must be able to represent this. When a business has an inclusive, multicultural talent pool, a company will have access to a greater number of voices to help develop services to appeal to customers from differing cultural backgrounds.
The same can be said of partnerships with fellow businesses; if a partner company is rooted firmly in an overseas culture, queer culture or disabled culture, a diverse workforce is more likely to have employees who understand the differences that a less diverse team may not, avoiding a potentially harmful faux pas that might cost the business money and standing.
While it may seem disingenuous, the standing and reputation afforded by a diverse workforce is not to be ignored. Even if a business is the best in its field, negativity associated with a brand can be detrimental to the development of a company and hinder progress. A diverse workforce will show any outside observer that the business embraces forward-thinking and provides a welcoming environment, allowing potential clients and partners to feel more confident in communicating with the brand.
A positive reputation such as this may also lead to more successful staff recruitment, as a survey by Glassdoor confirmed when it revealed that 67% of workers said that a diverse company is important to them when considering job advertisements.
It is also a perhaps uncomfortable truth that, even today, the CEOs and managers of companies are still predominantly white and male. As times change and equality among sex, gender and race draws ever closer, it is imperative that management changes to reflect this paradigm shift.
Profit is of course the goal of any business, and it would be insincere to not reference financial performance. As we have mentioned, diverse teams make faster decisions which saves time and ultimately money as they outperform competitors. Research published by McKinsey & Company in 2013 showed that, of 180 businesses across Europe, the highest profiting companies were those with more diverse work environments. The benefits of multiculturalism explored above combine to create better business results and earn higher profits.
New normal, new workforce opportunities
Life is unlikely to go back to the way it was before the pandemic, at least not quickly, but instead of seeing it as a crisis we can instead view it as an opportunity. Now is the time to allow the work from home revolution to expand your business and welcome in workers from an array of backgrounds and cultures to help you grow your business from their homes, while you watch your company grow.
This article was written by Mediareach, a leading UK-based multicultural marketing agency that helps organisations such as the NHS engage local cultures both at home and abroad.