While there are many business sectors that seem to be overrun by one gender or generation, there is research that shows that a more diverse population in your business is better. Here are 11 benefits of gender and age diversity in the workplace.
1. Increases Engagement and Performance
Research by SHRM shows that age diversity in the workplace can improve organizational performance and that productivity in both older and younger workers is higher in companies with mixed-age work teams. Inclusive workforces can breed higher satisfaction levels which in turn increases employee engagement. This can also result in increased performance.
When companies have workers that are different from each other, there can be an increase in sensitivity levels. The workers then start to look for ways to find common ground. Even when a team initially doesn’t like the idea of diversity, it can be the element needed to encourage better productivity.
2. Improves Your Organization’s Reputation
Business reputation is critically important in determining success. How your business is represented to your customers, your employees, your investors and sponsors, and your future talent pool plays a significant role. According to a study conducted by PwC, based on image and reputation, careers in fields like financial services, defense, oil and gas, government and public services, and chemical sectors rank as the five least appealing sectors to female millennials. A recent study by PWC also cited that 83% of women seek careers with businesses who demonstrate strong records of diversity.
Once your organization gains the reputation of having a more diverse workforce, you will have a powerful recruiting tool to use.
3. Helps Reduce Employee Turnover
Improving reputation, performance and productivity can lead to less employee turnover. According to SHRM workers who are 55 and older can contribute to lower turnover, as they typically stay loyal to their jobs longer than younger employees. Gallup found that companies with more diversity on staff have a 22% lower turnover rate. Employers gain lower turnover costs and employees with more skills and experience.
Diverse workforces are generally more inclusive of different individual characteristics and perspectives. When employees feel appreciated and valued, they will be happier in their workplace and will want to stay longer with a company. The more continuity a team has the less turnover the team will have to experience.
4. Expands Your Talent Pool
Some organizations still don’t realize that by not considering to have gender and age diversity in the workplace, they are limiting how much talent is coming to them. Expanding your talent pool to include women and seniors can have a positive impact on your productivity and your bottom line. By having a diverse team in your company you allow your business to recruit talent in people who have different backgrounds. When these people are contacted about employment opportunities they will be understood by members of your team who also have different backgrounds.
Everyone has different talents and attributes, and they bring different skills to the table. Without having diversity businesses won’t be able to develop, adapt, innovate and progress. Supervisors and hiring managers can expand their applicant screening processes to include more groups of people by implementing diversity into the workplace.
5. Encourages Innovation and Creativity
Diversity in the workplace leads to a higher innovation rate. According to Josh Bersin’s research, companies that were labeled as inclusive and managed talent companies are 1.7 times more likely to be innovation leaders in their markets.
Age diversity in the workplace brings about different experiences, expectations, styles, and perspectives. All of these differences make up the foundation of innovation when it is addressed and managed the right way. The willingness to create change is what leads to a working atmosphere that encourages innovation. Creative concepts can be found from bouncing ideas off co-workers that have different backgrounds. One co-worker can create exciting ideas, while another will have the necessary experience to execute the idea.
6. Creates More Revenue-Earning Opportunities
The companies that are willing to have diversity are the businesses that tend to see more sales and revenues because of their efforts. For example, emphasizing multiple language fluency for a team can boost their profits by 10% for every different language that is spoken. Gender diversity can help revenues grow by 40% in the first year of this effort.
Research conducted by a global management consulting firm in McKinsey & Company involved 180 countries in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, and revealed that companies with diverse top teams were also top financial performers. Diverse companies can open new markets and produce more profits without additional work and stress.
7. Improves Your Understanding of Customer Needs
Although there are challenges when it comes to sharing a workplace environment with someone who is different than you, any problems that develop can be overcome by the advantages over time. The daily routine can become dull if everyone has the same background and the same knowledge on certain topics.
Sometimes people can lose their passion for what they do because there is a lack of diversity present on the team. Having your employee base reflect your customers enables your company to effectively communicate with them. If you are selling a product to a diverse audience it helps to have a diverse company that can relate to what the targeted audience is wanting in a product.
8. Multiple Perspectives
People have different perspectives because of their life experiences, and it is important to understand the differences. For example, men and women will have different experiences buying a car. Older customers from the Baby Boomer generation will view buying products differently than Millenials.
Having gender and age diversity on your team allows you to benefit from these different points of view. Without varied perspectives solutions to most problems won’t be made obvious, or even visible. Different perspectives challenge employees to get out of their comfort zone. Clashes in perspectives can spark new ideas to be formed by your team.
9. Strengthens Decision-Making and Problem-Solving
Diversity in the workplace leads to better decision-making results and problems being solved faster. When employees from different backgrounds and perspectives come together, they come up with more diverse solutions, this leads to more informed and reasonable outcomes.
A study from Cloverpop, an online decision-making platform, revealed a direct link between workplace diversity and decision-making. When diverse teams made a business decision, they outperformed individual decision-makers up to 87% of the time. Diverse teams also proved to make faster decisions than individual workers and benefited from a 60% improvement in decision-making. Fresher ideas and more spontaneous breakthroughs from a diverse team strengthen the problem-solving process.
10. Provides Learning Opportunities
There are many advantages to mentoring in a multi-generational workplace. In a mixed-age workforce where companies value knowledge, experience, and skill above age, seniority or gender, employees will have the opportunity to teach, share and learn from each other, regardless of age. While general job training is great, encouraging mentoring relationships is ideal in helping your employees develop.
One literature review discovered that employees being mentored experienced benefits such as faster career advancement, better time management, and better networking skills. Having older and younger workers together is a perfect setting for mentoring to take place, allowing younger workers to learn and gain experience, but also allowing older workers to learn and develop new skills.
11. Enhances Collaboration
Without enough diversity in the workplace, it can sometimes be challenging to even start important conversations. Having women in teams can help boost group collaboration. According to a study conducted by Carnegie Mellon University, the proportion of women in a group is linked to the group’s measured collective intelligence. This is partially because of the stronger ability of women to read non-verbal cues. This study also found that groups with more women in it performed better at taking turns in conversations, which helps them to share knowledge and skills with each other.
Collaborating face-to-face on projects is simplified when an organization can open diverse lines of communication.
When a business has gender and age diversity, they welcome a whole other realm of thought and collaboration into their work. Just as most people would not want to attend an ice cream festival that only offered one flavor of ice cream, a business lacking in diversity is not set up for success.
Keith Miller has over 25 years experience as a CEO and serial entrepreneur. As an entreprenuer, he has founded several multi-million dollar companies. As a writer, Keith's work has been mentioned in CIO Magazine, Workable, BizTech, and The Charlotte Observer. If you have any questions about the content of this blog post, then please send our content editing team a message here.