Diversity and Inclusion in Business: Why it is essential

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.

aut­hor: Fio­na Thiele