In the 1990’s, New Zealand changed its voting system and introduced mixed-member proportional or ‘MMP’, in a move to break the dominance of the two major political parties and create a more representative parliament with greater diversity. Essentially, bringing together people who have different ways of thinking, different viewpoints and different skill sets.
Is this not the business case for diversity in the workplace?
Without getting into the history of politics and electoral reform within democracies, the basic tenet of a MMP or proportional representation is that it enables greater socio-demographic diversity including more women, Māori, Pasifika and Asian MPs – or at the very least, reducing the barriers for a representative parliament. Optics aside, having a parliament that better reflects wider society is seen to add legitimacy to decision making because it is based on the experiences, needs, views and aspirations of the population that it serves.
The outcome of New Zealand’s recent general election is that we will have our most diverse parliament yet, with an increase in female, youth, LGBTIQ+ and Māori MPs. Following the departure of many older, male, white MPs who have been in parliament for 30+ years. This is despite having such a definitive mandate for one party.
When we think about diversity and inclusion within the workplace, the business case centres around its capacity to foster innovation, creativity and empathy in ways that “like” environments seldom do.
Diversity in the workplace is multidimensional and should be about more than gender, race and ethnicity – we’ve spoken about the benefits of cognitive diversity in previous blog posts.
So how could an MMP approach to diversity deliver value to your business?
New ways of thinking
Supporting and promoting a diverse and inclusive workplace that includes employees with diverse religious and political beliefs, education, socioeconomic backgrounds, sexual orientation, cultures and even disabilities means you are bringing an array of perspectives to the table. Think of it in terms of decision making – do you find the best or fastest solution in isolation or by bringing together people with different thought patterns and problem-solving skills and working as a group. How would you go in a pub quiz on your own versus competing with a group of friends?
Broadening your talent pool
Today’s job seeker is motivated by many factors. While salary and career growth are important, increasingly there is also a strong desire to be part of an organisation that is progressive and has a broader social purpose. Promoting an image of diversity and backing that up in terms of your workplace culture, means you are likely to attract top talent.
Having a workplace where people feel they can bring their authentic self to work inevitably leads to happier, more productive employees – who are also likely to stay with you! Employee performance has a direct correlation to organisational performance which positively impacts on broader strategic goals and objectives.
Diversity has many benefits but that doesn’t mean that it is not without its challenges – our current and past governments are testament to that! But it is something that is worth the effort and increasingly it will become a hygiene factor in the workplace.
Need some help with your organisation’s business case for diversity? Get in touch with us today.
The Decipher Team
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