How having a more diverse workforce could benefit your business

How having a more diverse workforce could benefit your business

Space Race

Diversity in the workforce is a hot topic globally and, here in New Zealand, high-profile business leaders are throwing their support behind having workplaces that better mirror the country’s changing make-up.

Lawyer and Superdiversity Centre chair Mai Chen, recently said that businesses had no chance of survival if they did not adapt to and reflect the changing composition of New Zealand society.

She said ethnic minorities were an emerging market and if firms wanted their business, they had to acknowledge the differences.

Auckland alone has more than 220 ethnicities, according to Statistics New Zealand and around half a million New Zealand residents were born overseas. The latest projections released by Stats NZ predict the broad Asian population will rise from 540,000 in 2013 to 1.2 - 1.4 million in 2038.

Not only does this mean that your business could tap into providing targeted services for these diverse nationalities, but there could be advantages to your business in recruiting and hiring a more diverse workforce to ensure that you effectively reach these people.

Diverse talent equals diverse solutions and it does not stop at ethnicity. Having a workforce that embraces people of different ages, religions, gender orientation, socio-economic background and race makes for a dynamic and inclusive workplace.

Spark managing director Simon Moutter says Spark's workforce includes more than 60 different nationalities and, as a company, it celebrate events that embrace diversity.

ASB has become the first New Zealand bank to commit to formal benchmarks around lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex (LGBTI) inclusion in the workplace, through participation in the Rainbow Tick programme.

"We have a diverse customer base, so why not a diverse workforce, as well," said Carl Ferguson, ASB's chief internal auditor, in the media recently.

Having a workplace that reflects the community that a business is part of, or caters to, can spur innovation, drive growth and help sustain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Leadership Management Australasia (LMA) says business owners, leaders and managers should identify where diversity could, or already does, exist in their workforce – ethnic, age, gender, experience, talent and so on – and tap into it to derive business benefit.

It suggests business owners really get to know the people in their organisation and look at ways that those different backgrounds and life experiences could benefit the business. Managers should lead from the top by actively encouraging an inclusive work culture and fostering a work environment that acknowledges and celebrates difference.

The world is a changing place and so is the business market place. Having an inclusive mindset and a more diverse workforce, could help better position your service offering in an ever-increasingly competitive business environment.

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