By Mahima Walia, Chief of Staff, Awign
Workplace diversity is more than an office lunch table with multi-cuisine offerings or a monthly newsletter that makes it a point to greet you in 5 different languages. Workplace diversity, where it counts, has foundations far beneath the surface.
At Awign, and to me, the true meaning of workplace diversity is creating an environment which is conducive to innovation, creativity and representation. We truly believe that if an organisation is a fully functioning and complex ecosystem in itself, humans are undoubtedly its backbone. The effort, time and dedication employees showcase at their workplace can define the success of the organization. And to keep the workforce happy and foster an environment favourable to both personal and organizational growth, several factors like company culture, working environment, employee engagement and diversity of workforce play a pivotal role. While most of these factors are largely understandable, how exactly does diversity at the workplace affect the organization and its growth?
Diversity: Fact or fiction?
According to a survey, 67 percent of job seekers said a diverse workforce is important when considering job offers and 57 per cent of employees think their companies should be more diverse. Diversity in the workplace contributes to many facets: better perspectives, increased creativity, improved performance and, boosting the reputation of the company. It grants you a diverse and global perspective – a point of view that captures multiple nuances of the human experience and culture.
A lack of employee diversity on the flipside is a deal-breaker for 32% of the employees, who would not apply to a job at a company with a lack of workforce diversity. A unique take on this will be that sameness breeds sameness. If you employ a heterogeneous group – that is, employees with similar cultures, perspectives, and socioeconomic circumstances – then you’re limiting your creativity and innovation. Conversely, employees from diverse backgrounds will bring diverse solutions to achieve a common goal – your goal.
At Awign, we want to be a champion of the cause of diversity. To begin with, as a company goal, we are aiming to bring up the percentage of women in the workplace from 26% to 40% by 2024. We also want to enable more people to rejoin the workforce after a break, whether it be due to personal reasons or maternity/paternity leave, by providing flexible working hours that can ensure a good work-life balance. And since the very ethos of building an inclusive culture rests on having a range of experiences and voices at the top, our leadership team will consist of 30% women by 2024 to reflect the same. We also recognize that true diversity goes beyond the traditional gender spectrum and to address the same, we are taking concrete steps to embrace talent from the LGBT community.
These measures combined will ensure everyone has a voice, and every experience has an active role to play in the growth of our employees and the company.
The bottom line
From what we’ve highlighted till now, workplace diversity has not just one benefit, but many – whether it is to make employees feel comfortable to be themselves, create a great culture, or foster diverse talent. Moreover, all the above factors bring home the cherry on the cake: higher employee productivity and organizational growth.
The fact of the matter is that diversity also connects you to the community around you. After all, when you employ a diverse workforce, then your workforce directly reflects the community where you are located and the community that you serve.
Moreover, a diverse workforce is a great business move from a strategic point. Research shows that decision-making on the team level vastly improves with a combination of diversity and inclusion among employees. When people from varied backgrounds look at the same problem, they will come up with different perspectives on problem-solving. Workforce diversity can become the propeller of creativity and innovation within the organization. On top of that, having a diverse workforce with multi-lingual employees and employees from varying ethnic backgrounds can also be helpful for organisations who want to expand or improve operations in international, national, regional and local markets.
Awign currently has employees from over 21 Indian states, ensuring a diverse mix of cultures, traditions, experiences and languages. And this is just the beginning! Since diversity in age groups also ensures heterogeneous thought processes and a range of conversations, over 15% of the workforce at Awign falls in the 30-35 age bracket, whereas the first and second positions are taken up by the 20-25 and 25-30 age brackets consisting of 30% and 47% of the workforce, respectively. Diversity in this regard will always make sure that no perspective is lacking at the meeting table and that everyone has a chance to get their word across.
To add to this, diverse companies are also more likely to financially outperform their peers! A study shows that diverse firms have a 14% higher share of the revenue from new products as over 70% of consumers are more likely to buy something that aligns with their values.
With the benefits that diversity brings to the table – from impacting work culture, employee retention, productivity and even the bottom line – diversity is not an option today but rather the outline where we can set ourselves up for success!