Most business leaders today have heard that diversity and inclusion promote improved business performance. But the numbers regarding diversity in the workplace remain rather poor. Among Fortune 500 companies, women hold less than 5 percent of CEO positions. On average, African Americans are 16 percent less likely to be called back for an interview. More importantly, four out of every 10 managers say they are too busy to pay attention to diversity. These statistics suggest that some business leaders are unaware of the advantages diversity and inclusion can bring.
Why Are Diversity and Inclusion Important?
In business today, markets are highly dynamic and competitive. Businesses must, therefore, be adaptable, capable of changing gears quickly and getting the most out of its resources. Naturally, one of the most important resources is a business’s employees. Human creativity and innovation have always driven success in the marketplace. And in today’s environments of constant change, these ingredients are essential in gaining a competitive advantage. This is where diversity and inclusion come into play.
What Can Diversity and Inclusion Accomplish for You?
Research shows that diverse teams can improve business performance by as much as 35 percent. But how exactly does diversity and inclusion accomplish this task? A number of factors can affect how well a business performs. And you might be surprised how diversity and inclusion affect several of these to provide better business outcomes.
- Better Productivity – Diversity, and inclusion can improve business productivity in a number of ways. First, diversity can expand product and service offerings for customers through innovative ideas and concepts. At the same time, workplace diversity can improve business processes that enhance efficiency. Better employee morale and attitudes that come with an inclusive culture also advance productivity. Finally, inclusive leaders promote better productivity by creating a sense of unity among their team members. As you can see, several advantages of diversity in the workplace improve business productivity and efficiency.
- Better Creativity and Innovation – Diversity and inclusion are critical elements when it comes to creativity and innovation. Different experiences, ideas, approaches, and beliefs offer a great recipe for new solutions and unique problem-solving. The “rub” that often comes from diverse points of view is the special ingredient that stimulates creative juices to flow. Businesses that embrace diversity and inclusion will, therefore, be the most likely to reap these benefits. And when it comes to being dynamic and adaptable, creativity and innovation are essential.
- Better Business Opportunities – Many business leaders fail to appreciate the advantages of diversity in the workplace in terms of business opportunities. Consider diversity in language.
Multilingual employees offer unique business opportunities in international markets. Likewise, diversity can identify new business opportunities for existing products not previously recognized. When this occurs, business performance increases as economies of scale and scope are realized. Here again, diversity and inclusion offer the means to get the most out of the resources and opportunities available.
- Better Employee Marketing – If you have an inclusive and diverse workplace, the word is going to get out. Diversity and inclusion, therefore, provide an excellent way to market your business to new talent. One of the advantages of diversity in the workplace is better employee retention and reduced turnover. But few appreciate the impact a diverse and inclusive workplace has on employee recruitment. This will help your business maintain a competitive advantage while also perpetuating diversity and inclusion in the future.
- Better Workplace Learning – Perhaps business managers least appreciate the learning benefits related to an inclusive workplace. When employees feel respected and have a sense of belonging, they are more open to sharing information. This augments learning in the workplace, which the majority of employees want. As a result, opportunities for both employee growth and business success occur. And in the process, competitive capabilities expand. Diversity and inclusion, therefore, offer an effective way to advance collective knowledge in your business.
Diversity and Inclusion – The Secret to Attaining Business Goals
Study after study has demonstrated that businesses with a diverse workforce and an inclusive environment thrive. Diversity creates a workplace culture with different ideas, opinions, approaches, and experiences. Inclusion then invites staff to share these individual differences through interaction, collaboration, and teamwork. Together, the impact can be tremendous. Certainly, diversity and inclusion help businesses get the most out of their employees. But at the same time, diversity and inclusion help business achieve so much more.
John R. Miles
EVP & Associate Publisher
John R. Miles is Executive Vice President of Business Development and Associate Publisher of Bold Business. He is a sought-after motivational speaker and writer. He brings visionary leadership style and talent as a Navy Veteran and an internationally experienced CEO, COO, and Fortune 50 CIO across a multitude of industries. Miles is also an operating partner at the Virgo Investment Group where he is responsible for identifying and pursuing new investments while supporting existing portfolio companies with operational expertise. He is active on Linkedin and Twitter and published in a variety of media. Miles graduated with honors from the U.S. Naval Academy where he was a varsity athlete.