Celebrating diversity, equity and inclusion: Why it matters to your business (and your people)

Here at acework, we’re passionate about building exceptional teams. But exceptional doesn’t mean uniform. In today’s globalized world, fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s a strategic advantage with a proven impact on your bottom line. Building a strong argument for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) goes beyond simply citing its positive impact.

While social responsibility is certainly a worthy motivator, the true power of DEI lies in its demonstrably positive effect on your company’s bottom line. To effectively advocate for DEI initiatives, we need to move from platitudes to data-driven insights. In this blog post, we take a deeper dive into the data that showcases the power of a diverse workforce.

Higher financial returns  

There have been far-reaching changes in the business environment over the past few years, yet, companies with diverse leadership teams continue to be associated with higher financial returns. A 2023 McKinsey report found a powerful correlation between racial and ethnic diversity and profitability. Companies with greater diversity were 35% more likely to outperform on profitability metrics. Why? Diverse teams bring a wider range of experiences, backgrounds, and ideas to the table. The explanation for this correlation lies in the inherent strength of diverse teams. 

By bringing together individuals from varied racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds, companies can tap into a wealth of perspectives and experiences. Diversity not only drives financial performance but also positions companies to adapt and thrive in an increasingly globalized marketplace.

Sharper Decision-Making

Groupthink, the phenomenon wherein homogeneous groups tend to make flawed decisions due to a lack of dissent, is a well-documented challenge for businesses. However, diverse teams offer a compelling solution. Research from Harvard Business Review indicates that companies with diverse teams make better decisions up to 87% of the time compared to those with homogeneous teams.

A report by the Center for Talent Innovation reveals that inclusive teams are 10 times more likely to be highly effective in decision-making and twice as likely to meet or exceed financial targets. This suggests that fostering inclusivity within teams not only enhances decision-making but also drives tangible business results.

Additionally, a survey conducted by Deloitte found that companies with diverse leadership teams are 70% more likely to capture new markets and experience a 19% increase in revenue compared to their less diverse counterparts. This highlights the strategic advantage of diversity in driving innovation and market growth.

Building a Talent Powerhouse

By embracing diversity across all dimensions – race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, neurodiversity, and more – you unlock a vastly wider pool of exceptional talent. 

This allows you to attract top performers who might be overlooked by competitors with narrower hiring practices. Diverse teams not only bring a wider range of skills and expertise but also foster a more dynamic and stimulating work environment, further attracting and retaining top talent.

When employees feel valued, respected, and safe to contribute their unique ideas, they’re more likely to be happy, engaged, and productive. Inclusive workplaces foster a sense of belonging and psychological safety. This translates to lower turnover rates, a more positive work environment, and ultimately, a stronger bottom line. 

Fostering an Inclusive Culture: Beyond Hiring for Diversity

While highlighting the numbers and benefits of a diverse workforce is important, it’s crucial to remember that hiring talent from different backgrounds is only the first step. Implementing company policies that genuinely promote diversity, equity and inclusion is fundamental. Simply bringing together individuals from various backgrounds without cultivating a corporate culture that values these differences is insufficient.

Many professionals perceive their work environment as unfair, a perception often shaped by the behavior of those around them. Negative interactions with colleagues can result in poorer outcomes for members of marginalized groups, leading to inequities in talent processes, restricted access, and missed opportunities. Employees from groups that have not traditionally held power in the workplace often attribute unfair treatment to aspects of their identity that are marginalized.

Below, you’ll find a graph illustrating the experiences of professionals facing unfair treatment.

Source: Coqual

Inclusion in Workplaces: A Catalyst for Talent Attraction and Retention

Engaged and satisfied employees are not only more productive but also more likely to recommend their workplace to prospective talent. Thus, boosting employee engagement and satisfaction becomes a catalyst for talent attraction and retention, completing the cycle of diversity and inclusion. 

Fostering diversity equity and inclusion is essential. According to Deloitte’s 2022 CEO survey, skills and talent shortage rank as the primary concern for 71% of CEOs. This highlights the urgency for companies to prioritize attracting and retaining skilled professionals. This section delves into the pivotal role that inclusion plays in talent acquisition and retention, drawing insights from various studies and surveys conducted by leading firms like Deloitte.

Key points include:

  • The overwhelming preference of 75% of job seekers to work for organizations with diverse workforces, emphasizing the importance of cultivating inclusive environments.
  • The significance of offering flexibility, particularly for women reentering the workforce post-pandemic, to foster a sense of inclusion and support their professional advancement.
  • The unique characteristics of Gen Z, the most ethnically and racially diverse generation, and their inclination to prioritize inclusive and diverse work environments, as revealed by Deloitte’s 2022 Gen Z and Millennial survey.
  • The alarming statistic that more than a quarter of senior-level leaders of color anticipate leaving their current organizations to advance, compared to only 12% of their white peers, underscoring the imperative for companies to address disparities in leadership opportunities.

The Untapped Potential of Diverse Talent Groups

LGBT+ Talent: Studies, such as those conducted by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, have demonstrated that LGBT+ employees can contribute significantly to economic growth. For instance, research shows that their unique perspectives can lead to a 1.8% increase in GDP (Gross Domestic Product). This is especially valuable when targeting diverse consumer markets. LGBT+ individuals are often part of or closely connected to these demographics.

Immigrant Talent: Immigrants bring a wealth of cultural insights, global experience, and multilingual skills to the workplace. In today’s interconnected world, these attributes are crucial for success. Immigrant employees can help companies navigate international markets, establish relationships with overseas partners, and develop culturally sensitive products and services. Their diverse backgrounds enrich organizational perspectives and contribute to a more inclusive work environment.

Neurodivergent Talent: Neurodiversity refers to natural variations in brain function, including conditions such as autism, ADHD, dyslexia, and others. Neurodivergent individuals often possess exceptional strengths, such as heightened focus, attention to detail, and unique problem-solving abilities. These talents make them well-suited for roles in fields like coding, data analysis, and cybersecurity. Leveraging the strengths of neurodivergent talent can provide companies with a competitive advantage and drive innovation in various sectors.

Building a Culture of Inclusion

As mentioned before, creating a truly inclusive environment goes beyond simply hiring diverse candidates. Here are some key steps to ensure everyone feels valued, respected, and empowered to contribute their best:

  • Unconscious Bias Training: We all have unconscious biases that can impact our decision-making. Educate your team on unconscious bias and its impact on everything from hiring to performance reviews.
  • Mentorship Programs: Foster connections between senior and junior employees from diverse backgrounds. Mentorship programs provide guidance, support, and a sense of belonging for new hires, especially those from underrepresented groups.
  • Flexible Work Arrangements: Offer flexible work options to cater to different needs and working styles. This allows employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance and contribute their best work, regardless of location or personal circumstances.
  • Employee Resource Groups (ERGs): Provide platforms for employees with shared identities to connect and support each other. ERGs foster a sense of belonging, promote professional development, and offer valuable insights to company leadership.
  • Regular Communication and Feedback: Create open communication channels and actively solicit feedback from all employees. This allows you to identify and address any issues that may be hindering inclusion and ensure everyone feels their voices are heard.

Embrace Diversity and Inclusion

At acework, we are committed to championing diversity and inclusion as the bedrock of our operations and values. By embracing a broad spectrum of perspectives, experiences, and talents, we not only build high-performing teams but also contribute to a brighter, more equitable future for us all. Join us in celebrating diversity and inclusion—because together, we can unlock the full potential of our workforce and society.

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