09th Apr 2018, 06:07
Diversity has a nice ring to it. CEOs who create a culture of diversity are acclaimed. Corporations committed to diverse hiring are rewarded.
In our increasingly expanding markets, many wish to work in diverse environments. Perhaps for added perspective, or maybe to ensure one’s company is viewed as a business with the potential to have real global impact.
But beyond a public relations strategy or feel-good mission statement, what is diversity? And how, if it all, does it impact a business?
Defining workplace diversity
Let’s say that workplace diversity is embodied by a company that makes a conscious decision to harness the power of individuals who possess a wide range of characteristics and skills. These may include: race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, gender, religion, and ability -- and the list hardly ends here.
By its very nature the concept of diversity is a subjective one. Business reporting on numbers of diverse employees is exceedingly low as many corporations embarrassingly miss the mark on hiring and maintaining diverse teams. C-suite executives may also fail to realize the direct revenue impact diverse teams are shown to have.
What are the bottom line results of having a diverse team?
It’s proven that diverse teams deliver. They outperform non-diverse teams time and time again in a variety of key business initiatives.
Here’s a glimpse of what diverse workforce environments consistently add:
Racial and gender diverse teams have been found to make clearer and better business decisions that result in increased revenue. Research shows that teams comprised with employees who are similar tend to fall into the “groupthink” trap.
Initially a psychological term, in work environments groupthink represents conformity in decision-making. Those who are similar tend to follow the herd to avoid conflict, whereas, in diverse groups, individuals are more likely to differentiate themselves and share alternative views.
Diverse teams innovate faster. The Center for Talent Innovation recently discovered that teams that are both racially diverse and comprised of people with a variety of life experiences are 70% more likely to capture new markets.
The study shows that companies celebrating workforce diversity -- particularly in leadership roles -- enjoy 75% more innovatively marketable ideas than companies who fail to embrace diversity.
Diverse teams deliver higher financial returns. If nothing else resonates, perhaps this will. Diverse teams deliver on bottom line revenue more than non-varied employee groups. Diversity is, without a doubt, a powerful way to push the needle in a productive and socially-responsible way.
McKinsey & Company reported that ethnically diverse companies alone are 35% more likely to outperform their homogenous counterparts, while gender-diverse companies are upwards of 15% more likely to outperform.
These numbers are real and not to be taken lightly.
CEOs agree that diversity matters
Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube believes diversity is key to maintaining a competitive edge. While Sallie Krawcheck, Co-Founder and CEO of Ellevest, suggests companies consider hiring for cultural adds over cultural fits.
Many CEOs like Marc Benioff of Salesforce choose to lead by example beyond the corporate and into the political sphere -- a trend that continues to grow and gain more traction. Benioff took a public stance against what he felt was discriminatory governmental legislation and marched in protest alongside Salesforce employees.
The message is clear. Diversity equals improved business systems. It’s more than a passing buzzword, but a potentially disrupting force in the ways companies are perceived and managed.