Looking to see if women and minorities held visible positions within a company used to be a quick and easy way to determine if an organization was diversified in its hiring practices. The days of considering that a successful diversity strategy are gone! Today, savvy business leaders know that workplace diversity isn’t just defined by having a certain number of minority hires, but rather, it’s creating an inclusive, progressive environment that values and leverages every staff member.  Just as individuals don’t want to put all of their 401(k) money into one type of investment, employers don’t want to place the future of their companies in the hands of one type of employee.

A diverse workplace offers much more value than exposure to employees from different cultures and backgrounds. Employees will have an opportunity to learn from co-workers whose work styles and attitudes vary from their own personal style. This is particularly true for employees within multigenerational work environments. Traditional-generation workers have the opportunity to learn new technology skills and processes from workers who belong to the tech-savvy Millennial generation. Likewise, Generation X employees learn from exposure to the assertive, go-getter work ethic typical to those of the Baby Boomers.

Workplace diversity gives an organization a broader range of services. This cannot be overstated when it comes to a company’s ability to reach foreign countries.  Even small companies that have multicultural employees can have better access to national and international markets through certain employees. In addition, a global marketplace opens doors for employees with diverse language skills and multicultural understanding to build global profit centers.

In an era when flexibility and creativity are keys to competitiveness, diversity is critical for an organization’s success. Companies that hire from diverse groups of people can hire workers from the best available pool of talent, thus giving them a competitive edge.

Human Resources will play a significant role in attracting and maintaining a diverse and competitive atmosphere. They can be the catalyst that finds and develops opportunities and resources that support a diverse employee culture. Thus, allowing the workplace to function smoothly, creatively and productively.

As workforce demographics shift and global markets emerge, workplace diversity inches closer to becoming a business necessity instead of a banner that companies wave to show their commitment to embracing differences and change. Diverse work teams bring high value to organizations. Respecting individual differences will benefit the workplace by creating a competitive edge and increasing work productivity.