Diversity is an important element of every organization. It gives you access to a greater range of talent; helps to provide insights into your customer base; and contributes to the overall effectiveness of the business, which means more profits.

For an organization to remain competitive, it needs people thinking differently — which means having people from a variety of backgrounds and cultures to share their ideas and experiences. It means accepting, valuing and understanding the differences among individuals.

Let’s explore the importance of accounting for diversity when creating a strategic plan and highlight some tips for implementing diversity strategies in the workplace.

The Benefits of Diversity

Increased creativity: By employing people with different backgrounds, life experiences and perspectives, your organization can ensure that you have a variety of views, which leads to higher creativity.

Local knowledge and insights: A multicultural workforce gives your business an edge when expanding into new markets. With employees from a variety of backgrounds, you can adapt your products or services to account for the laws, regulations and customs in the new market.

Language barriers: By hiring employees who speak different languages, your organization can compete on a global scale.

Improved productivity: Employees’ diverse backgrounds, experiences, expertise and working methods can boost the problem-solving capacity of your workforce and lead to higher levels of productivity.

Employee engagement: When your organization encourages open conversations, employees can share their diverse life experiences with each other, building trust and improving employee engagement.

Reputation: Your organization’s reputation plays a huge role in retaining talent, attracting candidates and developing business opportunities. When your organization is diverse, your customers and potential employees see it as socially responsible. With an effective diversity strategy, you make it easier for people from different backgrounds to relate to your company and brand, opening doors to new business.

What Is Strategic Planning?

An organization’s or department’s strategic plan establishes its direction and determines long-term goals and priorities. It outlines where your organization is going and highlights what your business is, what it does and why it does it. A strategic plan includes:

  • An executive summary.
  • A description of your company or department.
  • A statement of its mission, core values and vision.
  • Budget and operating plans.
  • An action plan.
  • A SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis.

Depending on the size of your organization, you might consider a brief strategic plan detailing only the crucial information rather than an extensive plan.

Accounting for Diversity When Creating a Strategic Plan

As communities become more diverse, job candidates are seeking employers that understand their unique needs. An organization that neglects diversity in its strategic plan not only limits its innovative potential but its customer base as well; research suggests that consumers also look for businesses that prioritize diversity and are cautious of brands that seem only to be trying to check the “diverse” box. Organizations that address diversity in their strategic plan can compete effectively in a global marketplace.

Each organization’s approach to diversity and inclusion will differ depending on a variety of factors, including its industry and services. One thing that is true for all companies is that diversity should begin at the top. Chief executive officers (CEOs) and other top-level executives can begin driving change within the organization by developing policies, publications and presentations that highlight their stance toward inclusion. Consider integrating the following practices into your strategic plan, as well:

Training: Educate employees on the importance of diversity in the workplace and how they can promote it. Effective training can help create an inclusive environment where staff members are aware of and embrace each other’s differences.

Employee development: To stand out as an employer, consider implementing development programs designed to promote employees in underrepresented groups to higher positions. By doing so, you’ll be giving those employees an opportunity to have their voices heard.

Incentive packages: As you hire people from different backgrounds and with different life experiences, they’ll also have different priorities. To address this diversity, consider presenting employees with a selection of packages and allowing them to choose the most appropriate for their situation.

Missions and goals: It’s important to keep diversity in mind when creating policies and determining your mission, goals and objectives. They impact everything your business does, so by including diversity in your mission and goals, you’ll ensure its promotion throughout your organization.