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4 Ways Diversity Can (And Will) Immediately Improve Your Business

We’ve all heard of businesses that have implemented diversity training or inclusion initiatives. This is true for businesses of all shapes and sizes, regardless of whether you’re managing a small team or standing at the helm of a massive, global brand.

Maybe they threw culture parties or invited guest speakers. While flashy diversity-promoting activities get talked about, diversity, equity, and inclusion are more than just the latest trendy topics or buzzwords in the business world. These principles are crucial for building a thriving small business.

Most people don’t anticipate the many ways their business will improve once they increase the diversity in their business. If you spend making some changes to improve diversity at your company, each of these benefits is well within your reach.

1. Understand A Broader Range Of Customers

To close a deal or win a client, you have to understand your customer. You’ve got to speak their language. When you know how to communicate with customers, and you know what drives them, your business will thrive.

It can be a challenge to understand your customer if you have nothing in common. Sure, you might be able to do some market research, but you won’t know the ins and outs of their value systems, sense of humor, or relatable experiences. To get a true understanding of your customer, you need to have someone on your team who’s had similar life experiences. That’s where diversity comes in.

When your team has a wide variety of perspectives and life experiences, they’ll bring those diverse perspectives into the business. You’ll be able to reach a wide range of customers because the combined knowledge of your team allows you to understand more types of people.

2. Recruiting And Retention Are About To Become (So) Much Easier

When job candidates go through the hiring process, they want to see that they’ll fit in at a company. They want to know the culture will be welcoming and safe.

When you have a diverse team, a wider range of job candidates will be able to see themselves fitting into the company culture and finding a sense of community at work. The diversity on your team will allow you to recruit people from a variety of backgrounds.

Often, employers feel like they’d like to hire more diverse employees, but they’re not getting enough qualified candidates from diverse backgrounds. While hiring for diversity and inclusion can take some added effort at first, recruitment tools can help you overcome the early challenges of finding the right job candidates.

3. Creativity And Innovation Will Soar

Innovation happens when people are willing to think outside the box and do things differently than how they’ve always been done. When you have a diverse team, each team member’s unique experiences and understanding help the other team members look at problems in a new way.

Your team will be able to think of dozens of ways to solve each problem because every team member will likely approach the issue with a vastly different perspective. When you have dozens of options for moving forward, you’re more likely to come up with one option that blows the rest away.

When team members have varying perspectives, they’re also likely to disagree. You might think you want to avoid contention, but in fact, disagreement at a company is a good thing that drives creativity and innovation. When people with different ideas clash, it requires careful deliberation and discussion, and often the outcome is an idea that’s better than either of the two original ideas.

4. Make Unbiased Decisions

Every person has a unique perspective based on their own life experiences. Every person also has their blind spots and biases because of the experiences they’ve never had. While we can all try our best to eliminate these blind spots on our own, nobody is perfect, so we’ll likely still miss things.

Unfortunately, biased decision-making can be a huge business problem. To really thrive, businesses need to make smart decisions, uninfluenced by bias. The only way to do this is to ensure your team is full of people with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives.

When your team discusses decisions together, you’ll help each other see your own biases. When you listen to each other, you’ll be able to sort out facts from bias and make truly informed and accurate decisions.

You won’t be able to eliminate bias in your company simply by hiring a variety of types of people, though. You have to be sure you are listening to everyone’s different perspectives. It’s easy for minority opinions to be drowned out by the majority, however, if you want to improve your decision-making, you must ensure that everyone’s voice is heard.

If your team includes a diverse set of employees, but your leadership team is homogenous, you’ll likely struggle to eliminate bias from your decision-making. Look for opportunities to promote and hire people for leadership roles from a variety of backgrounds. You’ll be glad you did when you’re finally able to make fully informed, unbiased strategic decisions.

Visit First Midwest Bank for more ideas to help manage your business

This article was written by Pia Silva from Forbes and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@industrydive.com.

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