By Melissa Davies, Wise Ways Consulting
It seems overnight spring has arrived. In yards across Prince William County, trees are blooming, people are sneezing, and early spring flowers have opened to the sun. The magic of all this is we don’t have to do anything for this happen. The flowers and trees are already here.
The same is true for increased sales, revenue, and customer engagement for non-profits and revenue generating companies – the magic is also already here.
A study commissioned by the American Sociological Association looked at 506 companies and found that every 1% increase in gender and racial diversity correlates with a 3% to 9% increase in sales revenue.
Simply put, diversity in your workforce is a good thing and according to the Prince William County Department of Economic Development, “Prince William County’s racially and ethnically diverse population makes it one of the most globally represented communities in the region, offering potential employers a range of skill sets including a multi-lingual labor force.” The diversity demographic page is worth reading:pwcecondev.org/demographics
Our region’s demographics is a strength. Employing a diverse workforce makes sense. Yet with diversity also comes challenges. Let’s take quick look at the two types of diversity.
- Inherent diversity refers to demographics such as race, gender, and age.
- Acquired diversity refers to skills such as education, experience with a particular task or industry, values, and knowledge.
Ideally, you want your employees to have both acquired and inherit diversity to fill various leadership and employee jobs.
A workforce’s culture will grow organically as groups of people socialize and seek out natural leaders for support. It’s also expected for people to gravitate toward others who are like them. The 20-somethings head to a bar after work; the new mothers walk together at lunch; the nurses gather at the same table in the lunchroom. Inevitably there is conflict, whether it falls along racial, gender, or political lines. Yet organizations who work through it are stronger on the other side.
It is helpful for employers to have a diversity plan that includes a statement about the organization’s commitment to diversity as well as employee training, onboarding, evaluations, and even social events that consider and celebrate the multiple views and values of everyone.
Through conversation and shared goals, companies can grow with the strength of ideas and many voices of its workforce. Our region continues to bloom with opportunities.
Melissa Davies is an executive leadership coach and facilitator as well as the author of How Not to Act Like a BLEEP at Work. She resides in Prince William County and runs Wise Ways Consulting, which specializes in leadership, management and team development, executive coaching, group facilitation and high-engagement training. She can be reached at [email protected] or through wisewaysconsulting.com