Workplace Diversity | Industry Trends

Why your company needs diversity in the workplace

Diversity has become one of the key facets of a thriving business as companies become more competitive than ever and cultural dynamics evolve with their audiences. In addition, in the current climate, customers want to work with companies that value a diverse workforce. Your customers observe your company’s inclusion and use it as a deciding factor in who they want to do business with.

Companies that have placed a high value on diversity and inclusion have seen the positive impact on both their workforce and bottom line. Some of these companies are Johnson and Johnson, Mastercard, Disney and more† For Kaiser Permanente, who was number 1 on the DiversityInc list and who works in healthcare, 60% of their workforce is made up of people of color. They believe diversity is critical to the company’s and healthcare giant’s success in providing culturally acceptable medical care and culturally appropriate services to all 140 cultures currently represented in the US population.

In addition to helping you better serve your customers, here are a few ways hiring diverse talent can positively impact your business:

More innovation

When companies hire staff from similar backgrounds, they often get similar ideas and feedback. A diverse workforce challenges the status quo and drives more creative and innovative ideas. Diversity brings new perspectives and helps the company appeal to a wider audience that is as unique as the team delivering the content.

Google, arguably one of the strongest leaders in technology innovation, has taken strong initiatives in recent years to promote diversity and has had significant positive results in driving technology forward. When interviewed by Quartz at worksaid Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google: “A diverse mix of voices leads to better discussions, decisions and results for everyone.”

Faster Troubleshooting

Harvard Business Review ran a study testing groups of strategic thinking and performance. This exercise has been used with over 100 teams, but for this study it focused on 6 main groups to test for cognitive diversity. The research found that diverse teams could solve problems much faster than teams that were not diverse. In this example, Harvard took 3 teams that were diverse and 3 teams that were not, and the diverse teams were able to complete a task 2 to 3 times faster than the team that was not diverse. For example, in IT and cybersecurity, having a team with diverse education and work experience would be more likely to look at an issue from different angles, as opposed to a team that all have the same educational background. For businesses, this can mean saving millions of dollars in IT or cybersecurity costs by hiring a diverse team to resolve issues faster.

The article cites, “Taking on to new challenges requires a balance between applying what we know and discovering what we don’t know that can be helpful.”

Better retention

Companies that value inclusion and diversity generally have better retention rates, preserving key talent for years to come. One ADP investigation found that companies that are diverse and inclusive retain 20% more employees than companies that are not. When employees feel valued and that they can come as they are and not be singled out for their “differentness”, they are happier and more likely to stay.

For larger companies, it is critical to keep employee turnover low, not only for the company culture, but also for the financial result. PeopleKeep shares that studies by Human Resource organizations such as SHRM predict that every time a company replaces a salaried employee, it takes an average of 6 to 9 months of salary. For a manager making $40,000 a year, that’s $20,000 to $30,000 in recruiting and training costs.

Better decision making

In a white paper conducted by clover doll, found that companies with diverse teams outperformed monolithic teams, delivering superior performance by 87%. When teams from different backgrounds come together, they bring their unique perspectives of what works and what doesn’t to maximize results.

Although we live in an era where technology moves and changes everything around us so quickly, building and maintaining the best IT and cybersecurity team is the most important aspect for any business to survive.

For all these reasons and more, NexGenT is proud to have a diverse group of students who we know will have a positive impact on the companies they work for. NexGenT helps individuals build their technical and interpersonal skills in IT and cybersecurity, but it’s who a person is, their background, their culture and their experiences that help them become the great assets that they are.

How to hire for diversity

Looking for your first step in fostering a more diverse and inclusive organization? NexGenT’s alumnus Al Minnigan (Network Operations Technician) has this suggestion. “I would advise a company to really look transparently across the board at candidates and employees. Really assess the skills and strengths of the employees or candidates. When you focus only on what they contribute individually and make an effort to promote their growth, there will be an honest assessment. Always be open-minded, step out of your comfort zone and give everyone an equal opportunity to build your organization and be a valuable asset. EVERYONE worldwide makes a positive contribution.”

Terry Kim, co-founder and CEO of NexGenT quotes: “To be successful within a business, IT teams must constantly innovate and solve critical problems. This is where diversity can make a huge difference, as studies from MIT to Harvard publications have shown that diverse teams are smarter and more creative when they work together. So why not build a diverse IT team from scratch?”

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