As a small business owner you can face intense competitive pressure. That is why you need to have access to the best minds and skills available to survive the demands of changing markets.

Many companies increasingly recognize the importance of an open work culture. Diversity answers both requirements. Even if you operate a small business, you can integrate diversity into your hiring strategy to get the competitive edge you need.

Diversity as a driver of growth

When your company acknowledges and embraces the similarities and differences that exist in the labor force, it will benefit from the new perspectives, creativity, and innovation that people from various backgrounds offer. Diversity opens the door to fantastic opportunities that drive the growth of your company.

A workforce composed of various cultures, ages, lifestyles, and races gives your business a broad base of talents, ideas, and values that can help your startup navigate the massive demographic shifts that now influence your market.

They have the ability to communicate with national and international clients using their native language and technological skills. In other words, when you employ a team that reflects the composition of the markets you serve, you give your business the tools it needs to assure long-term growth.

How diversity affects businesses

Companies that embrace diversity recruit better talent than their peers and enjoy an above-average rate of employee satisfaction. These companies become leaders in innovation and have enviable financial statistics.

A diverse workforce results in a diverse range of perspectives that help your company produce products and services that meet the needs of your diverse customer base.

Diversity also paves the way for a better decision-making process, because people from different age groups, cultural backgrounds, and lifestyles can contribute their experiences, knowledge, and perspectives.

When managers have access to more information and ideas, they can make sound decisions that lead to success.

Diversity also facilitates corporate problem-solving. When people look at problems through the prism of their unique experiences, they can work together to identify, solve, and prevent problems better than a homogenous team can do.

The workforce also benefits from the opportunities of learning from diverse coworkers, resulting in a group of employees with increasing knowledge, talent and abilities.

How to achieve more diversity

Now that you know how diversity can benefit businesses, you need to learn how to create it for your company. Begin by creating a culture that values the uniqueness of every team member.

Next, establish a formal policy that describes your business as one that values diversity and seeks to use it as an engine for success. Your organization will soon develop a reputation as an all-inclusive, forward-thinking company that can compete and win on the world stage.

Develop benefits packages for your employees that will appeal to workers of various cultural backgrounds. Such a policy, for example, might include flexible holidays and work schedules.

Even when diverse employees seem inaccessible from your location, you can expand your reach by hiring remote workers. Teleworkers can work from almost anywhere, using technology to connect them to your headquarters as though they were physically present.

The option to work from home can dramatically extend the reach of your company to people with disabilities and people from ethnic groups located far from your place of business.

Get the word out about your diversity policy and post your job openings on sites that cater to female, minority, and disabled workers.

Get your business involved in the community and participate in ethnically diverse professional organizations that can help promote your cause. Your current employees can contribute to diversity by telling their family members, friends and colleagues about the various opportunities available at your company.

Also, reach out to urban areas that have diverse populations where you might have greater success finding qualified workers from different cultures and ethnicities.

You can also achieve diversity by finding ways to cater to different types of workers. For example, if your company becomes more accessible to the people with physical challenges, you can tap a huge labor pool that often gets left behind from economic and personal progress.

Wrapping it up

If you have never evaluated your business from the perspective of diversity, you should do so now. Globalization changes markets faster than ever before in ways you might not have imagined. You lay the foundation for continuous growth by embracing diversity in the workplace.

When you have people on your side with various backgrounds and perspectives, you can make better decisions, find better solutions, and deliver better products and services to your market. You also improve your workforce by encouraging employees to share their experiences and perspectives with their coworkers.

Ultimately, you will create a company that can appropriately respond to dynamic markets and diverse customers. As a result, your business can gain the competitive and performance advantages others already enjoy. Begin your diversity initiative today, to ensure a prosperous future.

Jill Phillips is a freelance writer from Buffalo, NY. She is an aspiring entrepreneur and tech enthusiast, who loves to share her insight on various business topics. When she is not writing, Jill enjoys taking photos and hiking with her dog. Connect with Jill via Twitter @jillphlps