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Small business spotlight: celebrate workplace diversity
Let’s look at the benefits of having a diverse small business.
Diversity in the workplace can be defined in many different ways, so rather than trying to pinpoint just one, we're going to make the case for why you should encourage and celebrate it.
There are three main benefits to having a diverse company: productivity, creativity, and loyalty. Let's take a look at each one.
Productivity is improved with organizational strength.
What makes an organization stronger? Diversity. A variety of people with vastly different backgrounds and life experiences provide a greater collective strength.
Each person brings a different toolbox to the table, and as part of a group, the variety of tools adds up. Using those tools, the group gets stuck on problems less often, they execute ideas more effectively, and they broaden their service horizons. All of that can translate into increased productivity at work.
Creativity skyrockets with different points of view.
If your employee pool is diverse, then each person will have a unique depth of knowledge to pull from.
For example, CEOs of successful creative companies are known for having quirky, whacky, or interesting hobbies on the side. Did you know that Sandy Lerner of Cisco Systems likes to joust? (That's right, the whole period-relevant look with horse, lance, and armor.) Because of her passion, she looks at the world a little differently than others do. Her different point-of-view can help generate new insights, new ideas, and new solutions.
Loyalty is earned by making employees happy.
What's one BIG way to make them happy? You got it—supporting their diversity. Encourage them to take time off to cultivate it, and if you can, provide some monetary backing or sponsorship. A person who shows that much dedication to something they're passionate about can also wield that kind of dedication in their careers, too.
There are also fringe benefits to this one. If you support that person's passion, they're probably going to stick around. (They know it's rare to get that kind of support at other companies.) In return, small businesses get the added value of longevity and retention, which keeps their turnover rate low.
These three benefits only scratch the surface of what can be gained by fostering diversity. We could keep going, but by now it's pretty clear: companies who hire diverse employees and celebrate it will reap rewards in productivity, creativity, loyalty, and more.