27 Sep Is your organisation fostering diversity enough?
Diversity is a key part of any modern business. It allows a workplace to access a broad range of talent, drive differences to introduce innovative ways of thinking, and reflect the demographics of their customer base.
While it may be hard to find someone who isn’t convinced workplace diversity is a positive thing – achieving it can prove harder than expected.
This is why emotional intelligence (EI) is key.
So, what are the signs of emotional intelligence and why is it important? Employees who are emotionally intelligent have greater self-awareness, awareness of others, show empathy and respect, invest more in interpersonal relationships and value collaborative working.
EI enhances a person’s ability to engage customers and colleagues, contribute to a collaborative culture and show greater awareness of how others are feeling. It is therefore advantageous to harness these skills and engage candidates from diverse backgrounds.
To achieve this, organisations must shift their focus from technical competencies to emotional competencies during the recruitment process. In doing so, recognising the social and economic value of EI may become a key strategy for enabling diversity.
Leaders must be aware that overcoming discrimination is not just the right thing to do; diversity matters for reasons beyond equality and is able to positively impact organisational performance. For example:
- Diversity allows for a spectrum of understanding and experience. This allows teams to dismantle rigid approaches to thinking, and instead, evolve and grow. In cultivating a workplace that is diverse in perspective and culture, an organisation’s ability to innovate is strengthened.
- Diversity draws and retains higher performers. Candidates who present high EI, and in turn higher levels of performance and leadership capability, will be the ones who value diversity and will be internal champions of it.
- Diversity allows for a realistic reflection of a business’s customer base. As the world becomes increasingly globalised, a business may adapt to an increasingly diverse client base by reflecting such diversity within its teams.
- Diversity improves organisational performance. Innovative, high performing and attuned employees allow for improved operations and a healthy bottom line.
Leaders who foster a workplace that harnesses the opportunities presented by Australia’s diverse workforce and values emotional intelligence in the recruiting process will be the type of organisation that stands out from the pack – as well as being a business that candidates want to be employed by.