Workplace diversity has been a hot topic for decades. But priorities are shifting to focus on new minority groups, such as people with mental disabilities. This is the case for SAP, who, since 2014, has hired 66 autistic software testers, programmers and data-quality assurance specialists as part of its “Autism at Work” program.
So how exactly does diversity shape company culture? We turned to our resident expert on culture, Limeade Chief People Officer Laura Hamill. Laura reminds us that workplace diversity goes beyond diversity you can “see” (like disability, ethnic, age and gender) and also includes behavior styles, opinions and ways of thinking.
4 ways a diverse workplace impacts your culture
1. Diversity cultivates an open environment
Diversity brings humanity, perspective and meaning to the day-to-day employee experience. It creates an environment that allows and encourages people to be themselves at work.
2. Diversity sparks creative problem solving
People from diverse backgrounds and with diverse viewpoints can offer a larger pool of opinions and ideas. When employees bounce these off each other, they expand their way of thinking and unleash creativity.
3. Diversity leads to innovation
Organizations that encourage employee differences and involvement tend to take more risks, generate more ideas and question the status quo – the most important precursors to innovation.
4. Diversity drives employee engagement
Employees feel empowered and valued by diverse organizations – knowing their employer cares about them as individuals, not just employees – which is essential for sustained engagement. In a recent ERE article, Limeade CEO Henry Albrecht commented on SAP’s “Autism at Work Program,” and said offering jobs for autistic employees can “be a huge plus for their general well-being and happiness, something that goes well beyond just getting a paycheck, and can make them highly engaged in their work.”
We’d love to hear how you incorporate and support diversity in your organization. Be sure to comment below.