Across the natural products industry, a consumer-driven shift has occurred toward greater transparency, sustainability and inclusivity. When it comes to diversity, the industry could do better. It has a responsibility to educate and ensure that nutraceuticals reach all diverse communities. The best way to do so is to start within.
Defining a diversified workplace
Most people think of a diversified workplace as one that includes employees of different genders, ethnicities and racial backgrounds. While this is true, there’s more to it.
The meaning of diversity has become increasingly complex. A diversified workforce includes people with variety across a number of different categories, such as religion, culture, sexual orientation, language, educational background, and skills and abilities. In an inclusive workplace culture, all these individual differences among employees are accepted and all employees are treated on an equal basis.
For the natural products industry, this has been a challenge. Companies generally hire through their networks, and these networks often reflect the race, gender and ethnicity of those in leadership positions. “The lack of diversity is a missed opportunity for growth for the natural products industry,” said Carlotta Mast, senior vice president of content at Informa Markets, “which is not set up to serve an increasingly diverse and changing population.”
Embracing the changes related to diversity in the workplace will take any brand’s culture and business results to a whole new level.
Advantages of a diverse workplace
The J.E.D.I (justice, equality, diversity, inclusion) Collaborative, a group of industry peers focused on advancing these values, is raising awareness while facilitating and inspiring the industry to commit and act. It emphasizes that more diverse teams bring greater perspective, generate better ideas and see around corners that prepare them to address challenges.
The group’s website notes: “As an industry of innovators and leaders in our food and agricultural systems, we have a vital business challenge facing us—a lack of diversity of human ingenuity, perspective and talent. Unless we work to overcome it, we will not be able to forge breakthroughs into new systems, products and services to best meet the demands of our customers in an increasingly multicultural America. With an industry-wide commitment to justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (J.E.D.I), we can and will attract the best people, the best ideas, and the best way forward toward a more just and prosperous future for all.”
Five advantages a diversified workplace can bring to any company include:
1. Greater creativity and innovation
People from different backgrounds tend to have different experiences and thus different perspectives. Exposure to a variety of different perspectives and views leads to higher creativity. This begins at the hiring stage. According to Josh Bersin’s research, inclusive companies are 1.7 times more likely to be innovation leaders in their market.
2. Faster problem-solving and better decision-making
Harvard Business Review found diverse teams are able to solve problems faster than cognitively similar people. Researchers found that when diverse teams made a business decision, they outperformed individual decision-makers up to 87% of the time.
3. Increased profits
McKinsey & Co. conducted research that included 180 companies in the U.S., France, Germany and the U.K. Results showed companies with more diverse top teams were also top financial performers and more likely to have financial returns above their industry mean.
4. Higher employee engagement, reduced employee turnover
Deloitte conducted research capturing the views and experiences of 1,550 employees in three large Australian businesses operating in manufacturing, retail and health care. It showed that engagement is an outcome of diversity and inclusion. When employees feel accepted and valued, they stay longer with the company.
5. Better company reputation
Corporate reputation is an extremely valuable asset to any company. Effective diversity and inclusion strategies can impact the way the internal workplace thinks about the company, which can also affect what external audiences perceive.
Talking about diversity can be challenging. The work to implement change and create a more diverse workplace can seem overwhelming, but it is not impossible. The advantages of having a diverse workplace far outweigh the insurmountable feeling of facing the task at hand.
In an industry lacking diversity, we can do better. The path forward to change starts from within.
Jacqueline Rizo is a content writer who specializes in B2B articles and white papers for the natural products industry on behalf of Stratum Nutrition.