By Maxwell Dean
Does your business or organisation represent the diversity of its customers? April is National Autism Awareness Month, and the perfect chance to ask yourself if you could do more to reflect your client base. According to our guest blogger Maxwell Dean, thinking more widely could even become your USP. Here are Maxwell’s thoughts on how embracing people of all backgrounds and abilities will help make your team stronger:
1. Enabling innovation
To put it simply, building a diverse team makes your organisation more innovative and ready to tackle unforeseen challenges. It’s also a great way to foster new ways of thinking and introduce fresh perspectives. Looking for new ways to engage customers? Unexpected and even unorthodox ideas could be just the ticket to grab their attention!
2. Representing customers
Customers need to trust you. Being genuine is not an option, it’s essential! Having people from many backgrounds and cultures, with a mix of languages, abilities and perspectives, in your team is a major plus. Think about it from your customers’ point of view; will they be happy and engaged if everyone looks and sounds the same? Of course not! They want to see that you’re human and represent all walks of life.
3. Fostering collaboration
Worried your team is not working well together? Embracing diversity more greatly could help you here. This approach can create a more positive work culture; the broader the range of abilities within your team, the more likely your staff are to recognise colleagues’ strengths over their weaknesses. Try a brainstorming session and see the variety of opinions, ideas and input that emerges (just be prepared for some colourful discussions!)
4. Attracting talent
Businesses that embrace everyone are immediately seen as more attractive and welcoming places to work by prospective employees. If your team looks and sounds the same, chances are you’re shutting out a lot of extremely talented people! Microsoft is a great example of a successful business welcoming employees with disabilities via an inclusive hiring process that doesn’t simply focus on a CV. Candidates are assessed in different ways, allowing their skills to shine!
5. Boosting profit
Ok, but what about the bottom line? After all, profit and cashflow are your top priorities – but embracing diversity can actually boost your profit! Research by global management consultancy McKinsey & Company resulted in some pretty interesting facts. Did you know, for example, that of more than 350 large public companies in North America, Latin America and the UK, those in the top quartile for gender diversity were 15% more likely to produce better returns than their peers? Or that companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity were 35% more likely to have better than average financial returns?
So, what are you waiting for? If your team suddenly looks a bit pale and more than a little stale, it might be time for some fresh thinking!
Max is a freelance writer and social media wizard working with a range of clients including Codez Academy, Digital Profile and The Huffington Post. To find out more, visit https://www.maxdeanportfolio.com/