In 2018, Starbucks made headlines when it closed its stores for all employees to attend unconscious bias training. The training came after an incident in a Philadelphia Starbucks, in which two young Black entrepreneurs had the police called on them and were led out in handcuffs less than 10 minutes after they arrived.
Their “crime”? They had been waiting for a business meeting to begin and had not yet ordered anything.
“Starbucks is a microcosm of what’s happening in the United States, said Jen Randle, a consultant who helped coordinate the trainings. “We all have bias. It doesn’t matter your race or ethnicity.”
With Starbucks a microcosm of society, this type of incident could happen in your workplace. Let’s explore how diversity training in the workplace (when properly implemented) can truly benefit all.
Benefits of Diversity in the Workplace
- Diversity Provides Fresh Perspectives
Not all people think or view the world alike. Hiring people from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and religions opens the door for fresh perspectives. Thus diversity offers your company benefits such as increased problem solving.
Some managers struggle with the idea of hiring different types of people and personalities. It can be awkward to introduce diverse opinions. But research has demonstrated that more diverse teams have a 60 percent improvement in decision-making abilities.
- Improved Recruitment and Retention
A company seeking diverse candidates has access to a wider talent pool. As you reflect on your hiring process, you may find you’re biased against certain employee traits, but this might weed out some valuable candidates. Embrace diversity in background, thought, ethnicity, culture, nationality, etc. to hire the very best talent.
Furthermore, having a diverse workforce can improve your retention rate. Most employees and job seekers desire a diverse workforce and take this into account when evaluating companies and their job offers. Companies that emphasize diversity are more likely to attract and keep the best talent.
- Diversity Increases Profit
Businesses must make a profit. The good news is that focusing on diversity – and enhancing it in your workplace – will improve your profitability. A report by McKinsey found that companies in the top quartile for ethnic and racial diversity in management were 35 percent more likely to have above-average profits. Another study by BCG found that increasing the diversity of the leadership teams leads to improved financial performance. These findings demonstrate just how important it is to prioritize your staff. You handle your staff, and they’ll handle the work.
Diversity is a fact, inclusion is an act. To benefit from diversity, you must create inclusion. “Diversity and inclusion” work in tandem. Diversity is essential for all the benefits above, but without inclusion, there can be a diversity backlash. So focus and D&I to enjoy the full benefits of inclusion in the workplace.