Diversity and inclusion initiatives in the workplace have been a timely topic for many years now. HR departments across industries have used a wide variety of workshops, seminars, and adaptations of policy as ways of creating more diverse and inclusive places of work. While this has brought about positive changes within the broader workforce, much of the leadership within organizations still lacks the diversity and inclusion that they have been working to change. There are many reasons why a more diverse leadership team can benefit organizations and the workers within them. Here are some reasons why more diverse leadership within the workforce is beneficial to all.
More perspectives, more possibilities.
Historically, company and organization leadership has primarily been made up of wealthy, cisgender white men, particularly lacking representation from groups like women and people of color. This is despite the fact that, for example, women make up almost 52% of management roles and just over 50% of the overall population in the United States. A large majority of important decisions, that often impact everyone in the company or organization, are made within the leadership team. If the leadership team is only made up of people from similar cultural backgrounds and/or experiences, how can they ensure that individuals who do not share their experiences are accounted for within their decisions? Companies and organizations would benefit from bringing new and different perspectives to their leadership team in order to help make these decisions that impact their diverse workforce. While diverse leaders should never be expected to solely speak on behave on their minority group(s), having diverse experiences, backgrounds and perspectives within a leadership team can bring about new ideas that benefit and account for a wider range of individuals.
Employees seek out diverse leadership.
Employees and potential employees seek out diversity in workplaces. According to Glassdoor, two-thirds of active and passive job seekers said that diversity in the workforce is important when considering companies and job offers. When potential employees are researching companies the first faces they are likely to see are the company’s leadership. If a leadership team is too homogenous, individuals who do not share backgrounds, experiences or perspectives with the team may feel that their opportunities for growth within a company or organization are limited. A company’s diverse leadership sends the message to potential employees that diversity and inclusion are not only celebrated within an organization, but also are key for making important company decisions that impact others.
Open the door for others.
Several different groups of people who have a variety of backgrounds, experiences and perspectives are under-represented in leadership across a variety of industries as stated above. By establishing a diverse leadership team companies and organizations are not only benefiting themselves, but also other companies, organizations and even industries by opening the door and providing new opportunities for others. This representation can help enact many necessary changes within industries by promoting inclusivity across the company or organization.
It is important to note that companies and organizations should avoid the mindset of finding a “perfect diversity quota” and instead be open-minded to diverse experiences, backgrounds and perspectives throughout their organization. This includes the leaders who are at the top of a company or organization. Being aware of the ways that a homogeneous leadership team may negatively impact or silence the experiences of individuals within your company or organization is key to moving forward into a more beneficial environment and space for all.
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Contributing Writer: Brittany A. Hamilton
Photo Credit: mentatdgt