COMPANIES in Zimbabwe should invest in workplace diversity if they want to be able to access a wider talent pool and a variety of viewpoints and skills that are necessary for organisational growth.
This was said by the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) risk and insurance lecturer Smarntha Shonhiwa during the Insurance Institute of Zimbabwe (IIZ) winter school in Nyanga on Monday.last week.
“Leveraging diversity in the workplace creates a balance between good business productivity and a happy employee,” Shonhiwa said.
“Workplace diversity has many other immediate and tangible benefits related directly to your company’s bottom line. Workplace diversity is not just a politically correct fad — it is a serious competitive advantage.”
Diversity refers to the presence and inclusion of individuals from various backgrounds including race, ethnicity, gender, age, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, and disability within an organisation.
At times, diversity has become a crucial aspect of creating successful and sustainable businesses in today's globalised world.
By encouraging diversity, companies create an environment rich in ideas, enabling them to develop fresh solutions, products and services that cater to a broader range of customers and clients.
Shonhiwa said diversity also resulted in increased profits as well as low staff turnover which are usually harmful to entities.
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She said management in companies could implement policies that either encourage or discourage workplace diversity.
“Companies also need to spend money on sensitivity training and develop a respect — and equality-based culture for managing diversity. Evaluate co-workers based on their performance on the job rather than on their attributes,” Shonhiwa said.
“Practice inclusivity and provide equal opportunities to all employees. Make sure your staff policies are in line with your equality documentation, which should cover recruiting, compensation, and promotions.
“Management can implement policies that either encourage or discourage workplace diversity,” she said.
The lecturer stated that a company that wants to promote employee diversity and inclusion must help staff members accept one another for who they are while managing diversity in the work. She also said building good communications was critical to keeping a diverse team engaged and everyone on the same page while managing diversity in the workplace.
“When an organisation proactively runs a workplace, they include individuals that are unique.
“This kind of inclusion in the workplace is what makes it,”Shonhiwa said.