Diversity in the workplace is one of the hottest topics in boardrooms these days and the life sciences industry isn’t exempt. Although most people don’t deny that there are many benefits to creating a respectful and inclusive workplace atmosphere, many organisations are still struggling with the implementation of diversity plans. Yet, despite the potential problems, there are numerous advantages that come along with a more diverse workforce, especially in the life sciences sector.
Life science organisations which embrace diversity not only have better efficiency and productivity, but, more importantly, they enjoy a simpler hiring process. The best candidates are more likely to seek out the organisation instead of having to be pursued. Organisations that take a positive approach to workplace diversity appeal to all kinds of candidates, including those from traditionally underrepresented groups who are keen to feel genuinely respected and valued at work.
How Does Diversity Benefit The Life Sciences Sector?
When life sciences organisations encourage diversity in their workplaces there are numerous benefits:
- Reputation improves – the reputation of any life sciences company needs to appeal to both employees and customers. With a diverse workforce the company appears to be inclusive and has a better chance of attracting top talent. As a result, the employer’s brand image improves and the reputation of the company gets better.
- A greater talent pool emerges – when a company widens its search for a diverse workforce, bigger talent pools open up. This is especially important for SMEs and new start ups within the life sciences sector who have a limited geographical catchment area.
- Greater productivity – when a workforce is diverse, employees have a broader range of backgrounds and experiences. This allows for more innovative ideas to be generated in order to solve the company’s problems.
- Better performance – a diverse workforce performs better. When employees all come from the same area, culture and educational background they are unlikely to be able to contribute original ideas. Whenever problems arise, they will struggle, therefore, to address them. With a diverse team made up of workers from different demographics and backgrounds, new perspectives and ideas can be brought to the table, driving up innovation and performance.
- Greater employee engagement – when an atmosphere of inclusion and respect prevails in the workplace, employees naturally feel more loyal and engaged.
- Reduced turnover of employees – if employees feel valued and engaged, they are also happier at work and are unlikely to look elsewhere for employment. This helps to reduce employee turnover and keep talent within the organisation.
Are There Any Considerations To Keep In Mind Regarding Life Sciences Workplace Diversity?
Although it’s important to foster a diverse workforce in the life sciences sector, there are some possible drawbacks to bear in mind. Although these drawbacks may appear to be negatives, they can all be overcome as long as organisations are aware of them and put plans in place to tackle them.
With greater diversity comes more opinions and this can have a counterproductive effect at work. The risk of failing to reach consensus and, thus, causing reduced productivity can slow down projects. Managers in the life sciences sector must take action to ensure that all parties can share their opinions but in a controlled way to prevent projects from stagnating and falling behind.
Also, opinion clashes and disagreements amongst workers can arise in the quest to develop greater diversity at work. Luckily, this can be resolved with diversity training which helps to overcome entrenched prejudices.
One further consideration to keep in mind is how communication issues between employees from different backgrounds can cause lower productivity levels. Language barriers may result in problems that impact the entire team’s productivity negatively. It’s important to ensure that candidates from diverse backgrounds have good English skills or have measures in place to facilitate effective communication.
Diversity Is the Future
Now that you know why diversity is so important in the life sciences workplace you will be able to put this knowledge to good use when it comes to devising plans to drive forward your organisation towards a future that is not only more diverse but also more prosperous. Although there are challenges that face any company that wishes to move forward in this way, those challenges are well worth overcoming in order to ensure a more positive workplace environment and, overall, a more dynamic and innovative approach to the life sciences sector.
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