The heading for this blog may seem odd or even contradictory since physical beauty is considered skin-deep rather than talent. However, the reference has more to do with the phrase, ‘do not judge a book by its cover’. Should we do this, we stand to lose out to someone who looks deeper than the surface for talent. The reality is, human beings tend to do just that in all aspects of life. How often have you heard that the first impression we make on someone is important and so we dress the part, sometimes to deceive? In the employment situation, the interviewer looking for real talent or skills must consider diversity for the benefit of their firm and should not be swayed by first impressions alone.
There are many perspectives on the advantages of diversity in the workplace and the overwhelming consensus that there are more advantages than not, is based on the simple fact that in the global village that the world has become, companies must adjust to the changing employment needs in the world of business. With the reality of Brexit imminent, it becomes even more important to have people from diverse backgrounds and cultures in the workplace, to cross the great divide to Europe and the rest of the world, if Britain is to maintain a competitive edge.
Kim Abreu, an analyst at Glassdoor explains, ‘recruiting and retaining a diverse, inclusive group of employees lets your company reflect the world around you and makes your team better able to develop fresh ideas that will meet the needs of the whole marketplace.’
The advantages of not making a first impression during an interview with a prospective employee, may be self-evident for some. You may already embrace diversity of gender, religion, race, age, and culture. However for those who still need convincing here are some points to consider:
1. To maintain a competitive edge, you will need access to diverse experiences of individuals and their insights and worldviews of the market.
2. Problems are better solved with increased creativity which comes with talented people who have different perspectives from diverse backgrounds.
3. By embracing diversity, a wider range of ideas from which to choose, with different skills and talents that improve work performance, is available.
4. A diverse workplace promotes a tolerance for differences in each other.
5. Communication, especially in the global arena, is improved when you have workers who speak different languages.
6. According to Global LT, companies with diversity programmes that include varied backgrounds, races, ages, religions, and genders experience a higher morale in the workplace.
7. Diversity empowers companies to expand into world markets more easily to serve those markets more effectively.
8. A study by Peterson Institute for International Economics found that firms with more female executives are more profitable.
9. Diversity also builds trust in your brand which then increases profits, according to Kimberley Amadeo of WorldMoneyWatch.com. In a competitive world, consumers tend to spend on what we trust to be a good return and we are less inclined to question the efficacy of a product that appeals to people from a wider range of backgrounds.
There will always be resistance as habits are hard to break. This resistance can only be managed with determination and commitment from companies embracing workplace diversity. Integration of diverse workers requires an ongoing programme that supports staff whenever they experience resistance.