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Tolerance — why is it so important for human interactions? It’s crucial for an individual living in freedom and peace. Unfortunately, tolerance is not self-evident, as reflected in our current socio-political climate. But what exactly is tolerance and how does it affect our lives and work environment?
Tolerance is respect, acceptance and appreciation of the rich diversity of our world’s cultures, our forms of expression and ways of being human. It is fostered by knowledge, openness, communication and freedom of thought, conscience, and belief. Tolerance is harmony in difference.
~ The Declaration of Principles on Tolerance, UNESCO’s General Conference, Paris 1995.
In this article we’ll discuss the impact of tolerance on our individual happiness, economic success and how cultural diversity benefits businesses. Lastly, we’ll concentrate on the importance of tolerance in HR.
Scientific Findings on Tolerance
Needless to say, many social scientists, economists, and psychologists have studied tolerance from different perspectives. On a nationwide scale, studies have shown that tolerant countries are correlated with long-lasting economic growth and competitiveness. Furthermore, those countries are able to attract more talented workers which has a positive effect on economic and social freedom. These positive effects are linked to social factors such as trust and happiness. The political scientist Ronald Inglehart demonstrated a human development model, where freedom of choice has an impact on rising levels of happiness.
A global study shows that the increase of democratization, economic development and social tolerance over time affect people’s perception of free choice and therefore increases happiness. Living in a tolerant society equals living in a happy society. Happiness is correlated with social tolerance, but also with the tolerance of outgroups and gender equality.
Tolerance, Cultural Diversity and its Benefits on Business
Tolerance is one of the first steps for a company that wants to operate competitively and on an international scale. Organizations across industries embrace the benefits of a diverse workforce. Also due to the concept of globalization and its benefits, some companies embrace diversity in a big way, as for example Accenture, Mastercard, and Disney.
Some of the benefits derived from cultural diversity:
1. Diverse cultural perspectives inspire creativity and drive innovation
Research has demonstrated that diverse teams outperform more homogenous groups. Culture influences the way we see the world. It offers new perspectives that inspire colleagues to see things and problems different. New ways of problem-solving appear – diverse perspectives and personalities give rise to out-of-the-box thinking. To gain more information about innovation through a diverse workforce, read a study by Forbes.
2. Local market knowledge and insights make business more competitive and profitable
When expanding into new markets, a multicultural workforce ensures a better understanding of needs and particularities. The business experience a higher competitiveness that leads to higher profits. Additionally, a greater productivity can be accomplished, by different talents working towards a common goal using different sets of skills.
3. By accessing a larger and diverse talent pool, chances are better to receive the highest qualified candidates
In a global and highly competitive labor market, promoting a diverse corporate culture is a great asset to attract international talent. Regarding a Glassdoor Survey, two-thirds of job seekers indicated that diversity was important for them when evaluating companies and job offers.
Responsibility of HR
As shown in a survey by Glassdoor, diversity will be a major HR focus. Nearly 59% of hiring decision makers reported that diversity deficiency has presented a significant hiring challenge.
Regarding employee engagement strategies, establishing a flexible, humane and inclusive workplace is crucial. A current Deloitte Insights Review shows that an inclusive and diverse workplace has a positive impact on employee engagement.
Diversity and inclusion are more than just an HR strategy — it’s a business strategy. Researches measuring the effects of diversity suggest that it has the capacity to lift business performance, drive innovation and engagement — a diverse culture outperforms their peers by 80%.
A tolerant HR strategy offers access to a wider talent pool. Embracing diversity will attract a range of highly qualified candidates. It also has a great impact on your employer branding, your company will be viewed as a more progressive organization.
Besides the hiring process, companies should aim to educate their employees to foster respect, dignity, and openness in the workplace. Tolerance should be a daily commitment made by all employees in the organization.
Being tolerant is worth it, for both your workplace and personal life. From a business perspective, there are more than enough reasons to promote and invest in a diverse and tolerant company culture.
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