Following on from Andi Telford's post, "The Importance of a Positive Work Culture", I thought it would be interesting to look at the business case for diversity.
This Forbes article, Five Trends Driving Workplace Diversity In 2015, shows that companies that don't encourage diversity in the workforce, and fail to cater for diversity among consumers, will go to the wall.
Creativity and Diversity
It also says that diversity and inclusion are keys to creativity and innovation. There are two main reasons for this:
- a workforce recruited from different sectors of society may think differently from each other;
- staff who feel valued for who they are (rather than having to pretend they are someone else) will be happier and therefore more productive.
Thinking Outside the Box
If all your staff are upper-middle class white heterosexual men between 20 and 40, for example, then the chances are they will all have been to the same schools, have similar tastes, and similar methods for solving problems. And they will very likely assume that their views are the norm, because they are the unmarked default (the group that is considered 'normal').
If you have people from different cultures, socio-economic backgrounds, countries, genders, and sexual orientations, they will have different ideas, and come up with innovative solutions to problems.
Recruitment and Retention
If you have an inclusive and welcoming work culture, you are more likely to attract and retain staff who are creative, diverse, and can think outside the box - perhaps because they were never inside the box in the first place!
Diversity’s Definition Has Changed: In addition to creating a workplace inclusive of race, gender, and sexual orientation (to name a few), many organizations are seeking value in something even simpler, diversity of thought. In some industries that are known for being insular – think law or high-tech companies – seeking out talent with different thinking and problem solving backgrounds in critical. Deloitte research underscores that diverse thinkers help guard against groupthink, a dynamic I observed firsthand last year with a large corporate client. Partnering with the company just after they had experienced a major product failure, the CEO lamented that the failure resulted from too much blind agreement internally – something Deloitte’s study calls “expert overconfidence.” Future-thinking companies see the danger in this lack of diversity and often question their own hiring and retention practices—and even their everyday operating norms.