Diversity seems to be more important than ever due to the diverse market of consumers and work applicants today. The competitive economy has forced employees to reconsider traditional practices of staffing and doing business. In today’s day and age, a diverse workplace made up of men and women of different ages is of immense importance for several reasons.
In order to increase market share, companies must have a diverse workforce. The United States, in the past, has seen white men thrive in business but this group is most likely to simply appeal to other white men. This is no longer profitable in today’s market and the importance of diversity in the workplace is only going to grow. According to a 2010 report by the Center for America Progress, “by the year 2050, there will be no clear racial or ethnic majority in the United States.” Competent companies will recognize the need to adapt now in order to avoid severe economic difficulties in the future.
One of the best ways to maximize profits is to empower people to perform jobs that allow them to use their strengths. This is hard to accomplish if the majority of employees are of the same gender and similar ages since the variety of skills and abilities will likely lack diversity. Therefore, a workplace consisting of both genders and a variety of ages will be able to create a group of employees with complementary skills. Employees with complementary skills can accomplish great things because each person is able to focus on work she enjoys while contributing to the overall success of her team. This results in an engaged, thriving workplace environment and more revenue for the company.
Most people at some point in their lives have experienced being excluded, often due to being perceived as different and/or threatening; this is known as social exclusion. Social exclusion in the workplace is costly because it can result in disengaged, unproductive employees and high turnover. According to an article published by “Gallup Business Journal,” disengaged employees account for 71 percent of the American workforce. One way to avoid these unnecessary costs is for employees to foster inclusion in the workplace by having an office filled with both men and women of various ages and ethnicities.
Once inclusion is fostered, creativity can flourish. Due to the high availability and distribution of goods and services to consumers worldwide, what companies really need are people with innovative ideas and creative problem-solving skills. A 2011 study published in Forbes found that 85 percent of the 321 executives surveyed agreed that a diverse workplace is key in powering innovation. This shows different perspectives are imperative in the business world and, once again, reinforces the importance of varying ages and genders in the workplace.
Sydney Neely has worked in the education arena for more than 10 years, teaching general education, the arts, communication and finance. She holds Bachelor of Arts and Master of Education degrees from Arizona State University. Neely also holds several state and federal financial licenses in life insurance and investments (Series 6 and 63).