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Diversity in the Workplace as an Employee Benefit

Diversity in the Workplace, by the Numbers.

Diversity in the workplace isn’t just nice to have. Today, representation of historically marginalized groups is essential for your employees – and your company – to thrive. 

Black, Latinx, and Women of Color are underrepresented in nearly every sector of American industry, and tech is no different. Underrepresentation of these groups exists at every professional level, and becomes more apparent the higher up the leadership ladder you climb. 

To put the diversity problem into context, Black employees made up just 7.9% of computer and math occupations in 2016, although they made up 11.9% of all U.S. workers. Latinx individuals made up only 6.8% of computer and math occupations, even though they comprised 16.7% of all U.S. workers that same year. 

What’s even more bleak about this picture is that for Black Americans, the number of workers in computer and math occupations decreased between 2002 and 2016 by almost 2%. Although many progressive companies in the computer, technology, and hard-skill industries claim to recognize the importance of diversity in the workplace, hiring trends prove otherwise. 

What’s stopping companies from pulling the trigger on a robust and thoughtful diversity initiative? Many hiring managers say diverse candidates often need too much training, or that they’re being too quickly recruited by competitors (the false assumption here is that there is too little diverse talent to go around). Others don’t see the point in changing their approach if their business is healthy – why fix what isn’t broken? 

We’ll discuss the perils of a fixed mindset in business in another blog post. For now, let’s talk about how lack of diversity at your organization can affect one of the most important benchmarks for your company’s performance: employee satisfaction. 

Dollars & Sense: The Clear Case for Workplace Diversity

Lack of diversity in the workplace isn’t just a bad look – it’s bad for business. To put it simply, teams who come from similar backgrounds and share similar perspectives just won’t innovate, adapt, or have insight into different market segments the way a diverse team will. A room full of decision makers who think the same way will eventually follow each other down the wrong path. Having such a narrow vision for your product or service inevitability harms your bottom line. 

But what may be less obvious to employers is the hit taken by employee satisfaction, retention, and recruitment when your company lacks diversity. Demand for diverse and inclusive workplaces is growing as the workforce becomes dominated by Millennials and Gen Z employees – the most diverse generations in American history. 

With only 56% of Millennials identifying as White compared to 72% of Baby Boomers, employers will soon have no choice but to prioritize diversity at their organizations.

Look around your office. Does it look as diverse as the city you live in? If it doesn’t, your business is at risk of low employee satisfaction, poor company culture, and high attrition. Not to mention, a happy employee is a productive employee. So, companies with little workplace diversity may not be getting the best from their teams. Each of these possibilities hurt profitability that much more. 

So far, we’ve discussed the possible negative outcomes of not having a diverse workplace. But making sure your staff represents different perspectives is about much more than avoiding risk. Diversity and inclusion offer just as many positive benefits for your employees that extend far beyond the bottom line. 

Broadened Horizons

Collaboration, communication, and working toward a shared goal in a diverse workplace builds trust and camaraderie between individuals that may have never interacted with each other outside of the office. This is powerful, because learning what you have in common with someone who you once saw as “other” is the start of breaking down personal prejudice. 

This may sound irrelevant to your business, but it isn’t. Breaking down the personal prejudices that create barriers between employees is the foundation of an inclusive and welcoming company culture. A sense of inclusion and belonging between colleagues with different backgrounds not only supports innovation, collaboration, and productivity, but creates an enriching environment where team members can learn and grow from one another. 

An environment where staff feel like both their professional and personal development are roundly supported will be happier, better employees, as well happier, better people. 

Prioritizing diversity so that your business is future-proof and your employees are happy may sound daunting, but re:work training is here to help.

Diversity at its Source.

re:work training’s mission is to make our workplaces look more like our neighborhoods, starting with tech. In doing so, our team is making meaningful employment more accessible to underrepresented communities, and strengthening tech with a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment. 

Through our 8-week tech sales training and placement program, we’ve created an extensive pipeline of qualified, diverse candidates who are ready for full-time work in tech and SaaS Sales and Customer Success. 

We partner with forward-thinking companies who understand the importance of workplace diversity for their business’ present and future success. Our partners include companies like DocuSign, who placed 3rd in Glassdoor’s Employees’ Choice Awards for Best Places to Work 2020 for treating employees fairly and investing in their potential.

Employee satisfaction is one of your company’s vital signs, and not responding to the rapid shift in workers’ attitudes toward diversity can put your business’ health in serious jeopardy. Workplace diversity isn’t only important for satisfaction and retention, but your recruiting efforts too. 

Job hunters (and customers) are more savvy than ever before. With bottomless company information at their fingertips, Millennials and Gen Zers are also much more likely to make decisions about where they work and what they buy based on how purpose-driven your company is, and how much that purpose aligns with their own beliefs and values. If your company doesn’t stand for diversity and inclusion, you are likely missing out on top talent.

Take one more look around your office. What do you see now? Chances are, you see room for growth and the opportunity to improve employee satisfaction, recruitment of top talent, and your company’s short-term and long-term success.

Ready to take the next step to a more diverse workplace? Click here to find out how you can become a re:work partner. 

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