Workplace diversity is the creation of an inclusive environment that accepts the differences of every individual. There are two major kinds of diversity: acquired diversity and inherent diversity. Acquired diversity involves traits a person gets from experience, this includes cultural understanding gotten from working or living in another country. Inherent diversity, on the other hand, involves traits a person is born with. Traits like gender, and nationality.
Diversity in the workplace has, however, evolved from just creating a heterogeneous workforce to using this heterogeneity to drive innovation. Company executives are now beginning to understand that their companies cannot be successful, especially not on a global scale, if they lack a diverse and inclusive workforce which not only drives innovation but also encourages creativity, guide business strategy and bring about business success. Competing globally presents companies with a series of challenges. Asides routine concerns that companies face, the global expansion comes with challenges like cultural and language barriers as well as competing with other companies that deliver similar product and/or service offering. This is why many companies have found that the best way to ensure business success is by having a diverse and inclusive workforce; a workforce with different backgrounds, experiences, skill set and talents.
Companies whose leaders exhibit at least 3 inherent and 3 acquired diversity traits are referred to as having 2-dimensional diversity. In a survey conducted, the Harvard Business Review found that 78% of respondents work at companies that lack 2-dimensional leadership. Inadvertently, this cost such companies crucial market opportunities as diverse groups understand the unmet needs present in under-leveraged markets.
Leaders who have a diverse workforce and give this equal airtime are “nearly twice as likely as others to unleash value driven insights” and employees in a “speak-up” workplace are 2.5 times more likely to give maximum innovative potential.
As cosmetics giant, L’Oreal USA, puts it, Diversity + Inclusion = Innovation + Success.