A long history of exploitation has resulted in ongoing institutional prejudice. This
is still evident today across many parts of our society.
We see it in the homogeneity of our workplaces.
But in the wake of a growing consciousness of social injustices
a clear lack of diversity and inclusion in organisations can no longer be ignored.
Yes, greater diversity is a moral obligation. But what few realise is that it actually
enhances productivity and creativity within organisations, and the empirical evidence
to show that is moving very swiftly from being overwhelming to indisputable.
Academic research and industry reports published over the last decade
tell a compelling story. Companies in the top quartile for ethnic and cultural diversity
are 33% more likely to outperform companies in the bottom quartile. Companies in the top quartile for
gender diversity are 21% more profitable than companies in the bottom quartile. Companies with
greater diversity on their executive board have a 95% higher return on equity than those without.
Whats more, organisations with inclusive cultures are six times as
likely to be innovative and agile, eight times as likely to achieve better business results,
and twice as likely to meet or exceed financial targets.
So why is diversity producing such unequivocal results?
A diverse team sets off a virtuous cycle with many positive feedback loops. For instance, each person
not only has various dimensions to them such as cultural, ethnic, gender and age, but also
their fields of knowledge and expertise. A more diverse team leads to even greater diversity of
perspectives. The connection and fusion of these perspectives naturally generates new ideas,
in turn facilitating a more enriched and creative corporate culture.
More diversity also means greater understanding of,
and empathy with, customers and stakeholders and, therefore, higher employee motivation. All
of this in turn leads to a better, more unique corporate reputation and a wider customer base.
It also makes the organisation more attractive to greater diversity of employees,
making the recruitment from new and exciting talent pools easier. And so, the cycle goes.
So how can you become a diversity fast mover?
There are ways in which you can curate such diversity to ensure that you harness
it for creative purposes and avoid the complications that might arise as a result.
Firstly, learn more about your team. What are the multiple identities, passions, interests
that comprise each individual within your team? Dont obsess with specialisation. Prioritise
the recruitment of people with diverse social, academic, cultural and personality backgrounds.
Quit the division of labour mentality. Foster inter-departmental communication
and encourage unlikely collaborations. Encourage an ideas culture
and invest in the new ideas that are proposed and that seem feasible. Be mindful of the
diversity of your external stakeholders and ensure its matched with the proportionate
diversity internally to allow for sustainable dialogue during times of crisis and growth.
Institutionalise the vision of diversity by ensuring that its embedded into all processes,
rituals, protocols in the organisation. Thereby making it an
authentic reality rather than just a box to tick.
And finally, lead by example.