What do organizations really gain whey they strive to have a more diverse workforce?

The new reality for manufacturers involves many challenges, from navigating a global economy with increased competition, to bridging the skills gap for their workforce. One proven way for a company to see business success is by becoming an “employer of choice” with a strong organizational culture. There is consistent evidence that a diverse workforce plays an increasingly vital role in this development.

Workforce diversity encompasses many different factors. According to University of Michigan Professor Scott Page, the definition of diversity is two fold: there is an identity piece that involves race, gender ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, etc. And there is a cognitive piece – education, learned skills, what information is known, what problem solving tools have been developed, etc. As the economy has moved from the physical to the cognitive, and culture has slowly become more exposed and accepting of people who are different from ourselves, the benefits of a diverse workforce have become more apparent and quantifiable.

Diversity as Common Sense

There is a popular saying that “great minds think alike”, but having too many ‘like-minded’ people does not necessarily help in regards to problem solving. Many of the benefits of a diverse workforce can be seen through this common sense approach: when people pull different experiences, knowledge, education, and skills from different places, they can provide different ideas in regards to a solution.

Diversity as a Component in Hiring

There are significantly more manufacturing jobs available than there are skilled workers willing to fill those positions. This skills gap problem in the workforce cannot be ignored, and organizations need to proactively be looking for qualified candidates from the younger generation. Being able to market to a wide variety of people is vitally important to filling positions from a wide variety of people.

Diversity With an Eye Towards the Future

While the culture of your organization often starts at the top, it is the front line people who will live it out on a day to day basis. Those same front line people will grow into the future leaders of the organization, so employees who have been exposed to and prioritized workforce diversity from the beginning will have a deeper understanding and appreciation of the benefits. Catalyst Connection’s Organizational Development team can offer support in a number of arenas. Talent attraction and retention starts with HR assessments, where a team of experts can review current practices and identify areas of improvement in the hiring process. They can also assess the culture of your organization and help to develop measurement tools to help understand critical culture changes. Catalyst can improve employer branding, positioning an organization through brand messaging as a place that values workforce diversity and growth. Catalyst Connection is also an official channel partner of Development Dimensions International (DDI) and offers many opportunities for leadership development. A focus on executive team building help to build a workforce diversity culture that starts at the top. And educational curriculum, feedback workshops, and analyzing success profiles for future leaders empowers individuals to grow and succeed within that culture.

There are many benefits of a diverse workforce. Manufacturers who prioritize diversity, and then partner up with a strong organizational development support system, will build a strong workforce culture and “employer of choice” reputation.