The business case for increasing diversity

1st December, 2016

Diversity isn’t just a warm and fuzzy aim but is crucial to an improved financial return for your business.

The invisible hand of self-interest has always been a key driver of change, and increasingly studies are finding that diversity in an organisation leads to better dollars and cents outcomes.

Of course there is more to the running of a wonderful business than its bottom line, but here are three powerful reasons why diversity is good for your business.

1. Diversity creates a leading, high-performance culture

Businesses that are ethnically and gender diverse while retaining both younger and more experienced staff are often companies that consistently outperform and achieve superior results.

Diverse leadership and teams promote a diversity of thought and ideas, and deliver more dynamic and innovative outcomes.

“In fact, the worst kind of group for an organization that wants to be innovative and creative is one in which everyone is alike and gets along too well,” said the Adams Distinguished Professor of Management at Stanford University,  Margaret Neale.

“And the key to making nearly any kind of diversity work is managing it well.”

Neale says that to be successful, “managers simply must get team members to be in agreement about what the task is and the values that drive its pursuit.”

If you want to run a business which is smarter, more innovative, that can grow, be more agile, change, adapt, and evolve — be diverse and inclusive!

Having a diverse working environment provides staff with continual opportunities to grow and learn from each other, in turn facilitating a culture of high performance.

READ: How to create a positive workplace culture

2. Diversity draws customers

A business which is diverse and inclusive may resonate or be more in tune with a broader customer base, thereby allowing you to attract a greater market share than more uniform outfits.

Improving your customer orientation can give your business a competitive edge and allow it penetrate previously untapped markets.

Who are your key customers or target clients? How can you strive to collaborate or establish a genuine integration with them if you look nothing like them?

3. Diversity attracts top talent

Diversity and inclusion has improved in developed economies over recent decades, but there is still a long way to go before equality is commonplace.

For example, while most graduates today are women, globally there are still many fewer female senior executives than there are male.

Diversity and inclusion can help you to win top talent, and without it, you may even be left trailing by your competitors.

Millennials consider diversity and inclusion to be of importance, and not only in terms of preferring a multi-generational workforce.

Making your business diverse and inclusive may allow you to attract, develop, and retain a diverse group of tomorrow’s great leaders.

Diversity will make your work environment more interesting, and it can be a positive driver for the public opinion of your business.

There may even be unforeseen social benefits or outcomes beyond the confines of your own business.