Adaptability to social change – diversity in SMEs
In today’s globalized and competitive environment, organizations need to embrace diversity in order to stay ahead of the curve. One way that companies can do this is by implementing inclusive practices that span all areas of business including recruitment, retention, career development, leadership development and community engagement. Organizations are increasingly recognizing the importance of having diverse teams who are united around their shared values and goals as well as have different perspectives on issues. Diversity leads to greater creativity which results in more innovative ideas. This benefits both the company and its customers while also increasing employee satisfaction.
- Diversity is a key driver of innovation and sustainability
The importance of diversity has only been acknowledged in recent times. Inclusion and the acceptance of difference is something that some SMEs have neglected for too long. Diversity in fact can be seen as a competitive advantage, and when an organization works towards cultivating diversity in its workforce, it will see significant improvements in all aspects of its business- especially innovation. When a company becomes more diverse culturally, ethnically and socially, they provide an environment where increased ideas can emerge and creativity flourishes.
- Organizations need to embrace diversity in order to stay ahead of the curve
Many organizations strive hard to find the best way to reach a new population of potential customers. But often many organizations are unable to step far enough outside their own comfort zones and take on an open mind-set that embraces diversity. When corporations find themselves in this position, they find that potential customers are turning away for fear of unknown values and beliefs. This is when it becomes necessary for these organizations to examine their own assumptions as well as their mindset, to accept that their method of operation may not work for everyone.
It is also important for all companies, especially the smaller ones, to put an effort into developing a diverse workforce because it helps with gaining new customers from different cultures and demographics. When a company hires someone from a minority group then they have opened their business up to many new prospective clients. A diverse workforce can greatly improve your ability to connect with the population of a city or town and even to find new customers overseas.
- The benefits of diversity include creativity, more innovative ideas, and employee satisfaction.
There are a number of reasons that diversity benefits organizations – and small businesses need to take note. Diversity not only means different races or ethnicities. A diverse workforce is made up of people who have different abilities, gender identities, sexual orientations, ages, and beliefs. This is important because when employees feel that their opinions are valued as well as their contributions in the workplace, they will be more satisfied with their jobs and less likely to leave. Thus companies can benefit from having a diverse workforce because it keeps turnover down as well as provides employees with a sense of belonging and purpose in the company’s mission. A diverse workplace fosters more creative ideas and an innovative culture.
It is hard for companies to stay competitive in today’s marketplace, and without new ideas it is difficult to be innovative. A 2014 article notes that “companies with high levels of board diversity (women plus minorities) are 35% more likely to have financial returns above national industry medians.”
An article from the Harvard Business Review shows that women were more likely to be innovative and successful than men. Why? The answer could lie in the “diversity effect”, which is described as, “…a team’s collective ability to draw on its members’ different perspectives and experiences.” When a group of people who are all alike think about a problem, they might arrive at the same solutions because they are all working from the same set of experiences and backgrounds. When a group is more diverse, more innovative ideas can emerge.
In today’s business world there is an increasing need for organizations to think creatively in order to find new ways to make money and stay competitive . A study by the University of Virginia states that “the best predictor of creative idea generation is a group’s collective ability to draw on its members’ different perspectives and experiences.”
- How to establish diversity in SMEs
One of the ways that SMEs can implement diversity is by creating teams that are united around their shared values and goals, but who also have diverse perspectives.
Begin by recognizing the need for diversity and the benefits it can offer your company, then brainstorm a list of team members who would be a good fit for your company. Make sure to include people with different backgrounds, cultural identities, ages, etc. To make sure you have a diverse workforce from the very beginning, place these employees in positions where they will manage others.
The following are some ways small businesses can not only hire diverse employees but also retain them:
1) Conduct an Internal Audit- This process will help SMEs understand how their company culture may not be conducive to a diverse workforce.
2) Set Clear Goals- SMEs need to have a clear idea of what they want their company culture and practices to be like. This is particularly important with regards to diversity because the goal should be embracing different ideas, cultures, and opinions throughout the business.
3) Embrace Differences – Have an open mind about other people’s ideas and the ways they present them. Some employees may be uncomfortable sharing their opinions or ideas because their culture is different from yours, or they are afraid of being judged.
4) Create a Team-Based Culture – Everyone should feel welcome to share their opinion in a team setting
5) Teach Others About Diversity- Encourage your employees to learn more about diversity and inclusion.
6) Create a Learning Environment- Whether it’s through online classes or workshops, SMEs should create an environment where their employees can grow as people and professionals by learning about different cultures, ideas, etc.
7) Accept Mistakes – If you want an effective business culture that will be conducive to a diverse workforce SMEs need to accept the mistakes of their employees. Encourage openness and trust within your company.
Diversity is not just a buzzword – it is the future of competitive SMEs: it improves the bottom line and helps you to be more innovative and to deliver better results. Here are some ways you can start to establish diversity in your business: Establish an inclusion policy that sets guidelines for how staff should behave with one another; Encourage employees from diverse backgrounds to network outside of work hours so they feel more included at work; Provide training courses about different cultures and traditions so people understand why others act differently than them without judging them. There are many benefits to establishing diversity in your company including increased productivity levels, reduced turnover rates, higher retention rates which equals lower costs per employee-hour worked!
All information and details in our articles and information have been compiled to the best of our knowledge. However, they are provided without liability. This information cannot replace individual advice in specific cases.