67% of job applicants put diversity at work in their top priorities1. Yet, the reasons why diversity becomes a central topic for companies go beyond recruitment and employee satisfaction purposes. It also improves creativity, productivity, profits, success, and more.
For a long time, one of the most mentioned examples of diversity in the workplace was gender diversity. But this topic has a much wider range of aspects. Most importantly, it’s about gathering talents from all communities and valuing their individuality. Working with people with different profiles offers much more than collaborating with colleagues with the same professional and personal background .
Experts usually refer to seven generic types of diversity in the workplace. What are they, and what are the other more detailed forms of diversity? Do you want to know why working with a diverse team is a huge advantage for your business and how a hybrid work model impacts this aspect? Keep reading and you’ll find all about it.
Examples of diversity in the workplace
The 7 most relevant types of diversity in the workplace
Dividing people into categories can be a never-ending process, as we all have unique traits and characteristics. However, there are seven types of diversity in the workplace that we usually refer to when discussing this topic:
Gender diversity - employees can be female, male, or nonbinary.
Sexual orientation - all sexual orientations are represented in the organization.
Age diversity - the input of all generations (Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, Gen Z) is valued.
Disability - people with mental and physical disabilities are given the same chance as other employees.
Cultural diversity - ethnic backgrounds are recognized and considered as an advantage.
Religion - all spiritual beliefs and practices are respected in the workplace.
Racial diversity - employees from different races are all esteemed and work hand in hand.
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Other examples of diversity in the workplace
But as we said, reducing the examples of diversity in the workplace to these seven types is a very generic approach. Diversity goes much further than just a difference in skin tones or beliefs.
For instance, having a mix of introverts and extroverts or recruiting employees from various countries are also forms of diversity. Somebody from the United States might have a different life experience than someone born and raised in Sicily. This undoubtedly influences their way of working and their vision.
As we are all unique in so many ways, there are numerous examples like this one. For this reason, and because the world of work usually defines the types of workplace diversity to the seven mentioned above, it is essential to remember that diversity can also come from:
Benefits of including all types of diversity in the workplace
Creativity, productivity, and success
How do you create a successful team? Skills are essential, but there is something that is even more important: diversity. What happens when people from multiple backgrounds, with different lives, various professional experiences, and distinct visions are brought together is much more valuable than anything else. By sharing their knowledge and being appreciated for who they are, these teams' innovation, productivity, and success are booming.
The importance of DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) in the workplace keeps increasing for various reasons. One is the impact of DEI initiatives on employee satisfaction, happiness, and well-being.
For example, the Workforce Happiness Score is 10 points higher in diverse teams. Valuing pluralism meets the expectations of workers coming from minorities but also from other staff members that wish for more diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Employee attraction and retention
Companies that allow their employees to be part of a diverse team have a significant advantage in talent attraction and retention.
According to the Glassdoor 2020 Diversity and Inclusion Survey, 32% of job seekers would deny a position at an organization that lacks diversity. There is almost no doubt that this number keeps increasing, as 48% of Gen Z comes from racial or ethnic minorities.
Not only is diversity a topic in the workplace, but it is also a social aspect that is part of our daily lives. For this reason, organizations that act on this matter are also better perceived by their partners and customers. People care about social and ethical matters. And they would rather support a company that gives the same opportunities to everyone than a business that doesn’t.
Statistics are clear. A gender-diverse company makes 25% more profit than other businesses. Culturally and ethnically diverse teams bring 36% more profit. All the benefits of diversity in the workplace mentioned above make organizations that focus on this aspect intrinsically more profitable and successful than others. However, this only happens if equity and inclusion are part of your strategy.
The link between flexible work and these examples of diversity in the workplace
Implementing these workplace diversity examples is more accessible in a hybrid work environment
One of the advantages of flexible work is that it helps lift barriers to create more diversity at work. Have you ever looked at LinkedIn profiles thinking, "this person would be great in our team," but didn't reach out to them because they lived too far from your office?
This is the perfect example when implementing a “work from anywhere” policy allows you to be more diverse in your recruitment process.
You open hiring opportunities to a broader range of people, no matter where they are located. Talents who live far away from your office and can’t come on-site daily can finally apply to your job openings!
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Flexible work helps some minorities keep a healthy relationship with their professional lives
Balancing personal and professional life can be challenging. But for some communities, doing their desired job is more complex than for others. People shouldn’t have to give up on their professional goals because of their difference, whatever it is.
For instance, people with disability might encounter issues coming to the office daily, but they might also be the best person in their field. With a hybrid work schedule, it is easier for them to maintain a professional activity while taking the opportunity to work from home when they want.
Employees with children shouldn’t have to struggle to thrive in their working lives either. Flexible work arrangements allow them to better juggle between parenthood and work.
The potential risks of hybrid work toward equity and inclusion
Hybrid work can also prevent companies from improving on equity and inclusion matters. Because staff members have the choice to come to the office or work remotely, managers can start to give more attention to people that they see more often. Proximity bias, or any favoritism, is the opposite of what you want to observe in a work environment when aiming at more fairness and inclusivity. But flexible work arrangements are as important for coworkers as DEI initiatives are. Both these aspects empower workers and are crucial to enhance employee satisfaction. Therefore, organizations need to share their expectations and be clear with their management teams about their requirements regarding DEI matters.
From gender to racial and educational diversity, we hope this article gives you a better understanding of the wide range of examples of diversity in the workplace. Focusing on the seven major types of workplace diversity is essential and is a must for any business that wants to remain future-proof and succeed. With an employee-centric approach, flexible work can help you promote DEI in your work environment.
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