Close

The business case for diversity (and why it’s not just about money)

Let’s be clear – adding women, people of colour, transgender workers, disabled employees and other typically underrepresented people in your workforce will not – in isolation – immediately boost your revenue and make productivity levels go through the roof.

Recognition of the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace has increased by 74% in the last three years. But all too often, the business case for winning over leadership teams is “Employ diverse employees, and your ROI will increase by X, Y & Z.” Whilst true in some cases, money metrics aren’t the be-all and end-all.

How can “box-ticking” culture ever end if a leadership team purely focuses on diversity for the monetary benefit? More importantly, why do we even need a business case when discussing something which seems so simple?

What is a ‘diverse workforce’?

Diversity is ultimately what makes us different.

By definition, diversity refers to the variations of different characteristics in a group of people, whether this is age, race, gender identity, ethnicity, religious beliefs, sexual orientation or otherwise.

A ‘diverse workforce’ simply refers to an organisation with a range of diverse individuals – and no, that’s not including those companies where 10% of employees identify as women.

A truly diverse workforce might include a wide variety of employees of:

  • Muslim religious beliefs,
  • non-binary gender identity,
  • Asian or Hispanic ethnicity,
  • a worker with a disability – hidden or visible -, or
  • individuals from Gen Z or the Boomer generation.

Importantly, the mix of different people brings the diversity.

Research shows that 85% of CEOs with diverse and inclusive cultures notice increased profits, and 43% of companies with diverse boards noticed higher profits, and are more likely to achieve long-term growth.

Although these are impressive statistics, failure to look beyond the monetary ‘business case’ means many companies will employ diverse people for the wrong reasons and create a potentially hostile, inauthentic place to work.

Other than being the right thing to do, here are just a few (non-monetary) reasons why your business will be much better off with a diverse and inclusive workplace:

Performance will sky-rocket

You heard that right – according to Gartner’s research, inclusive workplaces improve team performance by around 30%, especially in high-diversity environments.

When employees feel valued, have a sense of belonging and are surrounded by diversity, they’re happy to put in more work and focus on the company’s bigger picture, rather than just showing up and doing the bare minimum.

Who’s ready for a creativity boost?

Teams that lack diversity, different cultural experiences, or backgrounds are likely to have similar ideas and opinions – an echo-chamber if you will.

If teams are conjuring up the same ideas and churning out samey work, how can your business grow and meet increasing targets?

Think about it – when you’re cooking up a meal, you don’t just put a bit of salt in and call it a day – if you do, I heard Nigella Lawson has some fantastic recipe books.  You add a bit of paprika, some oregano, some crushed garlic and a sprinkle of chilli flakes.

A different mix of people with different ideas and opinions creates something beautiful!

Perfectly summed up by TrainingJournaldiversity enhances creativity. It encourages the search for novel information and perspectives, leading to more-informed decision-making and problem-solving.

Win the talent war, and improve your company culture in the meantime

A survey conducted by Glassdoor found that 67% of job seekers consider diversity an important factor when looking for a job.

Nowadays, people are actively seeking employers who embrace diversity and offer support and help, going the extra mile to make employees feel included.

If you seem to be getting the same applicants time and again, you need to look within your company. Is your workforce diverse already? If so, are you showcasing this online to attract potential candidates?

Review your careers page, your blogs, your social media accounts – representation matters. Considering 64% of jobseekers thoroughly research companies online before applying, you need to make sure your ED&I efforts are being seen, heard and felt – internally and externally.

Promoting true diversity in the workplace is an on-going process, and there are always improvements that can be made.

Where business leaders are willing to invest in diverse employees, and genuinely seek change, you will see huge benefits over time.

Want to know more about fostering genuine diversity in the workplace?

Get a free copy of our eBook to learn how to tackle racism in hiring processes, support LGBTQIA+ employees and a quick quiz to see how inclusive your workplace really is: Equity, diversity and inclusion (ED&I) – how to genuinely embrace and support a diverse workforce.

Written by Mara Swann

Mara has a passion for promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion across global workplaces and hopes to inspire learners to focus on their own careers with self-directed learning content.

Categories

You may also be interested in...

Employee engagement
Learning & development

5 ways to upskill on your tea break