There are lots of arguments about whether it makes a difference whether your workplace is diverse enough. If it doesn’t affect their ability to do the job, does it matter what race, religion or sexuality your employees are? There is however the argument that people like to see a reflection of themselves in a company.
Our panel of diversity and inclusion experts share their thoughts on what they think are the benefits of a diverse workplace
There are numerous benefits to having a diverse workforce, many of which can be supported with findings from multiple research studies. My top 3 benefits are: Improved Financial Performance – The McKinsey Consultancy reported that ethnic and gender diverse companies were 30% and 15% more likely to perform better respectively. Reflecting Customers – Reflecting the diversity of customers and users allows organisations to understand and meet their needs more effectively. It’s the Right Thing to do – Whether that’s ethically, morally, or corporate social responsibility, having a diverse workforce is the right thing to do.
Natasha Broomfield-Reid, Head of Development at Equal Approach.
I have a marketing background with Sony and Nokia, and know that if you don’t have a diverse team, you end up getting the same ideas that may not appeal to the varied audience you’re marketing to. As I always say ‘from understanding comes growth’ and believe there’s great ROI with a diverse workplace.
Caroline Stokes, Executive Headhunter & Coach. Founder of FORWARD.
Having a diverse workforce can benefit organisations in several ways from improved morale, knowledge sharing, forming a rounded team and bringing various set of soft skills to the table.
Diversity can also include people’s personal background, culture, educational levels, values, ethnicity as well as gender as sexual orientation. It’s important to have a balanced point of view represented.
Nicola Crawford, CFIRM, Chair of the Institute of Risk Management.
One of the key benefits of creating a diverse workforce is the diversity of thought which leads to innovation, representative viewpoints of a wider range of audiences and/or service users and ultimately drives competition. You’ll only stay ahead and become market and thought leaders if you are ahead of the trends and can make predictions, this becomes a much easier task if your workforce is reflective of all in society and the audiences that it serves.
Joanna Abeyie, Managing Director, Hyden, SThree.
Other than the obvious, that having a diverse workplace is fundamentally the right thing to do, the business benefits are clear. A diverse workforce brings with it insight into other socio-economic groups, cultural sensitivities and values that gives companies a competitive advantage.
The numbers speak for themselves. According to the Centre for Talent and Innovation, organisations rated highly for diversity and inclusion have 57% better collaboration, 19% greater staff retention, 40% improvement on market share and 70% success in new markets. Companies would be foolish not to recognise the business benefits of diversity.
Suki Sandhu, CEO and founder of Audeliss.
Research by firms such as Deloitte, McKinsey and PwC show that companies that are both diverse and inclusive have a positive impact on business delivery – such as the bottom line, employee engagement, productivity, motivation and retention.
Companies should ensure they are attracting and retaining the best talent into their companies regardless of background. As we continue to see an ageing population there will be as many as five generations in the workplace and the increased global nature of our work means that talent will come from all corners of the world. If companies do not realise that talent comes in many different shapes and sizes they will be left behind by their competitors – a diverse world requires diverse thinking. Diverse thinking naturally comes from diverse groups of people.
Charlotte Sweeney, Managing Director of Charlotte Sweeney Associates Ltd.
Diverse groups are likelier to challenge ideas, introduce fresh perspectives, and consider more possibilities, which makes them better critical thinkers, problem solvers, and innovators. But watch out for diversity without inclusion. I’ve seen many well-intentioned programs go south when the stakeholders skip straight to diversity, without first considering whether talent of diverse backgrounds and experiences will be able to succeed at their company. How are your meetings run, whose ideas are considered, and ultimately, who’s getting ahead in your org? Answer these questions with candor, and be willing to do the work to cultivate a culture that sets all employees, equally, up for success.
Sarah Nahm, CEO, Lever.