Collins Community Credit Union

Diversity in the Workplace - An Intern's Perspective

As we wrap up our involvement in Cedar Rapids Pride Fest, I’ve been asked to write a blog post about Pride & Diversity in the workplace- from a new intern’s perspective. One of the first projects I got insight on when my internship began was Collins CCU’s involvement with local Pride celebrations. Our team members designed t-shirts, planned a booth, recruited volunteers, created snapchat filters, and spoke often of the festival with eager excitement. It was awesome to see us not just lend the Collins name, but our time, money, and staff.

Published on Jul 18, 2018

And it has been just as thrilling to see that as the company talks the talk in the community, it walks the walk within its own walls. Too many times to count have I heard discussions on company culture, what our values are, and how we can improve…all in relation to diversity. I am not saying this to toot our own horn. I’m saying it because I realize that Collins knows it must move along with the tide of having an inclusive and representative workplace- (not just because it’s the right thing to do), but because it’s advantageous to do so.

Whatever diversity means to you (differences in race, age, sexuality, gender, ways of thinking), the demographics of your workplace are shifting and will continue to shift. But what I’m really here to say is this is a good thing, for the following reasons:

  • Having a diverse team has been proven to help companies capture new markets and out-perform their competition. According to this study conducted by Harvard Business Review, companies with diverse leadership teams were 45% more likely to report that their market share grew over the previous year, and 70% more likely to have captured a new market compared to competition.

    And according to this study by McKinsey&Company, companies they studied in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity were 35% more likely to have financial returns above national industry medians. Findings like this are becoming more and more common, showing quantifiable outcomes that come from committing yourself to a diverse workplace.
  • The generational group I represent, “millennials”, is the most racially diverse adult generation in American history, is on track to become the most educated generation to date, and by 2020 will represent 50% of the global workforce. Collectively, what we care about has shifted compared to previous generations. We deeply value diverse and inclusive workplaces, we are willing to leave a position if it isn’t fulfilling, and we are significantly more likely to consider diversity in the workplace as an important criterion in our job searches. (Check out this article for more findings from a study on Millennial's perspectives on diversity compared to older generations). What does this mean to your business? To be able to get the best and brightest talent newly entering the workforce, you have to market to their needs. One way to capture that talent is by creating a conscious company, one which uses diversity and inclusion to make its workplace better.
  • Lastly, a more diverse workplace gives you viewpoints from all walks of life. When you have different minds working together, you get creative and innovative ideas. We can no longer afford to think homogenously; because that isn’t the direction the world is moving towards. With diverse thinking, you get a stronger understanding of your unique and different customers. And because you have people representing them on your team, you’ll have a better idea of what products and services they need. 

As my internship is flying by, this post has given me time to reflect on what has made this experience meaningful thus far. I’m proud to work for a company that knew the value that being involved in Pride would give to both its members and employees. Let’s continue on in making our workspaces more inclusive… and celebrate both our differences and similarities along the way.  

-Anna S., Marketing Intern

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