04 Aug Diversity and Inclusion in Business: Why it is essential
Diversity and Inclusion in Business: Why it is essential
“Diversity: the art of thinking independently together.” – Malcolm Forbes
Many companies still see it as an option rather than a necessity, but the business case for diversity and inclusion speaks for itself. Countless studies show just how beneficial it can be. A study by McKinsey found that companies with diverse and inclusive workforces are 35% more likely to outperform their competitors. According to HBR, inclusive organizations are 87% better at decision making and BCG revealed that diverse management teams lead to a 19% increase in revenue.
You might be asking yourself now why diversity and inclusion seems so advantageous. The answer for this is simple. Imagine working on a project where each person has the same background, the same views, and ideas, would the results bring anything new to the table? Now imagine a team of individuals from diverse walks of life, with different experiences coming together. New perspectives are bound to be brought forth, which fuels creativity. Having a diverse group of people on the same team helps others see problems differently, leading to different ways of solving problems, with a variety of thoughts and solutions. Unique mindsets create unique opportunities, which companies and people benefit from.
What is diversity and inclusion?
In order to fully grasp why diversity and inclusion matters, it is important to understand what these terms actually mean. So, what is diversity and inclusion? Diversity is about recognising the differences between employees, their identities, and backgrounds. Inclusion is about valuing and wholeheartedly embracing these differences and believing that they are a benefit to the company.
D&I done right
Inclusive businesses can be incredibly powerful and inspiring to others, when done right. Unfortunately, a lot of managers solely look at the business case for D&I from a strategic perspective. In other words, they want to make their company look good from the outside. Some experts argue however, that this focus on the business case is misguided and that the moral case for D&I is much more relevant. A diverse workforce alone is not enough, the company needs to take action to create a mindset of inclusion, respect and understanding within the business. This will lead to an open-minded environment where employees feel encouraged to embrace their uniqueness.
5 reasons why diversity and inclusion are good for business
As mentioned above, diversity and inclusion can bring a lot of advantages to a company, if managed correctly. Some of those include:
1. Mutual respect
When a company values and celebrates the differences that exist between employees, builds a respectful and understanding environment. Managing the company’s diversity and giving the same opportunities to everyone, regardless of their differences, helps to unite the team.
2. Creativity and innovation
The different backgrounds together with the multiple experiences of employees add value to the creative or innovation processes within the business.
3. Customers feel represented
A diverse team of individuals is more likely to also represent the diversity of the customers themselves. Customers will feel more inclined to buy something from your company if they feel understood and seen.
4. Increase in productivity
Harvard Business Review found that culturally diverse teams find solutions more quickly than those that lack this attribute. Decision making also happens to be 60% faster. These factors build the groundwork for increased productivity.
5. More job candidates
According to Glassdoor 2 out of 3 job candidates actively seek out companies that present themselves as inclusive and diverse. Furthermore, in a 2017 survey by PwC, 54% of female and 45% of male respondents said they researched whether a company had diversity and inclusion policies in place, when accepting the position.
Why diversity and inclusion are important
Diversity and inclusion are essential for any company. All businesses have a responsibility to ensure that their employees have the same opportunities, regardless of their background. D&I not only leads to an improved working environment, with satisfied employees, it is also an important cause towards change. In a world where discrimination and prejudices still exist on a large scale, allowing minorities and underrepresented people’s voices to be heard and to actively work with them is the first step to create a more open-minded, connected world.