Zen Business co-founder Shahnaz Hemmati deep dives into what makes B Corps so enduring and pulls out five key advantages to maintaining a diverse workplace.

New data released by Bloomberg exposes just how male-dominated and white some US companies workforces are. Examining 37 US companies, only four of them had workers from a black ethnic background in 10% or more of executive and management roles.

While it is easy to highlight the obvious advantages of a diverse workplace, such as the pride you feel in knowing your work in a progressive and diverse environment, there are many other not-so-obvious advantages.

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Shanaz Hemmati

As part of a brand new B Corps study, Zen Business co-founder, Shanaz Hemmati, reveals five advantages to maintaining a diverse workplace, aimed at those who are increasingly moving into leadership positions and looking to work for companies that prioritize diversity and inclusion.

1.Employees learn to use their head and their heart

“Many people experience an unexpected side effect when they embrace the chance to become aware of their unconscious bias: their interpersonal relationships improve. By engaging in conversations around diversity, we tap into an emotional vulnerability that carries over into familial and romantic relationships as well. 

“Becoming aware of what you don’t know can be an emotionally freeing experience, both at work and at home. One participant reported: “as a husband and father, it allowed me to better ‘listen to understand’ and lean-in to my vulnerability as a means of strength.”

2. Builds employee engagement

 “Embracing diversity initiatives can help people in business truly learned how to fully engage each individual. A diverse workplace can also allow the opportunity to work with others from different organizations and get to know colleagues in richer, deeper ways. 

“Diverse workplaces necessitate profound and sometimes difficult conversations between employees who are given opportunities to be aware of unconscious biases and actively listen to others. Deep engagement between employees leads to improved job satisfaction, and deeper engagement with the company.”

3. Increases innovation

“Creativity and innovation rely on having an open mind and the ability to approach an issue from different perspectives. Therefore, a workplace that encourages diversity – not just of race, gender, and culture – but also of thought, will inevitably foster more innovation. 

“The connection between diversity and innovation has been proven. Rockwell Automation is one organization that understood that in order to continue providing innovative solutions to meet customer needs, it had to attract, engage, and leverage a wider range of talent, which is why it began looking to improve diversity and inclusion efforts. 

“As a result, the company was able to substantially increase women in leadership roles, and involve male employees in playing a key role in redefining the culture.”

4. Defines your organisation’s business goals and values 

“Having a diverse workplace helps an organization better define its values, and overall role in the community. Business leaders who have integrated and prioritized diversity within their organizations find that diversity helps them to better define and direct organizational values, and that having a sound inclusion and diversity foundation has sparked discussions among leaders that are helping shape current and future actionable plans. 

“Diversity in the workplace creates organizations that are adaptable and resilient. With nearly two-thirds of millennials interested in an organization’s corporate social responsibility, having a strong sense of values is becoming increasingly necessary.” 

5. Helps you thrive in a global, multicultural business environment

“In today’s global business environment, the ability to connect with people from a variety of backgrounds and cultures is a huge advantage.

“A diverse workforce means people can bring their whole self to work, and are therefore able to more deeply connect with others. We often hear leaders say that diversity initiatives make a huge difference in the way they approach and engage with others and that being part of a diverse workplace means employees are more comfortable meeting and interacting with people from all over the world.  

“When an organisation embraces diversity and inclusion as an integral part of the fabric of the company as people feel a greater sense of belonging, they feel more valued and respected by their team, and they are able to perform their job functions better.”

 

Sharing your story with the world may inspire others to do the same. You can start with the Great British Businesswoman Awards, which is open to women and allies across a diverse range of industries. The awards programme is in its first year and already has a top tier judging panel of inspirational people advocating inclusion at every level. 

Just fill out a brief nomination form and see where it takes you. Click here to get started.