It’s 2022 and the positive impact of diversity and inclusion is no longer debatable. Data from leading research firm McKinsey has found that fully engaging individuals of diverse backgrounds would “add $4.3 trillion annually to the US economy and $12 trillion to the global economy by 2025.” In fact, companies with a diverse workforce are 35% more likely to experience greater financial returns than their respective non-diverse counterparts.
This presents a pretty compelling case for organizations and leaders who are focused on the bottom line. It’s undeniable—inclusive workplaces where individuals feel welcomed, respected, supported, heard, and understood—are good for business. And, yet, here we are, still banging the drum on the need for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace.
Beyond the bottom-line financial advantages, organizations that embrace diversity continue to reap a wealth of tangible and intangible benefits, including:
1. Reduced Turnover
People want to work for organizations whose values align with their own, where differences are considered strengths and where they feel comfortable bringing their whole self to work. Study after study shows that organizations that operate with a more diverse work environment have more engaged employees and subsequently lower turnover rates. Through diversity, organizations can foster a better understanding of other cultures and ways of being, which acts as a catalyst for becoming “insiders” rather than “outsiders.” When every member of the team feels welcomed and accepted, employees are happier and more connected to their job, team and the organization as a whole.
2. More Creativity and Innovation
It’s no secret that companies are always looking to boost internal capacity for creativity and innovation. Research shows that companies that embrace diversity are 1.7 times more innovative. And, according to NPR, social scientist Adam Galinsky has found that people who have deep relationships with someone from another country become more creative and score higher on routine creativity tests. Different perspectives, experiences and backgrounds broaden our horizons and impact the way we think, getting us out of the familiar rut of homogeneity.
3. Faster Problem Solving & Decision Making
Harvard Business Review revealed that teams that include cognitively diverse members are more likely to solve challenging problems faster. (You can also read our piece on the importance of neurodiversity here.) Another article from Forbes showed that “inclusive teams make better business decisions up to 87 percent of the time.” Perhaps because our hardwired biases are tempered by ideas, thoughts and voices of other diverse team members.
4. Broader Perspectives & More Opportunities for Growth
Millennials make up the majority of today’s workforce, and play a vital role in any organization. According to a recent Gallup poll, 87% of Millennials say that career and professional growth opportunities were important to them. In the same way that diversity fosters creativity and problem solving, it can play a strong role in understanding the world around us broadening our perspectives. Being exposed to new ways of thinking, new skills or approaches will open up opportunities for both personal and professional growth.
5. An Employer of Choice
In today’s age of “The Big Quit,” the ball is in the employees’ court. And potential employees are more discerning than ever about which companies to work for. Research found that 47% of millennials want to work at diverse companies. From an organizational perspective, diversity plays a significant role in attracting the best and the brightest talent, and being able to create a talent pool that reflects the world around us.
Going from Here to There
Given the data above, it’s easy to get behind the notion of an inclusive workplace, however, true inclusion requires some heavy lifting. It requires us to get past the barriers of our own bias and the courage to adopt a growth mindset where we are open to new perspectives, willing to make mistakes and grow into new behaviours. Inclusive behaviour can be developed and like all behaviour change, inclusive leadership takes discipline to intentionally develop the behaviour in ourselves and those around us. Stay tuned as we dig into this further next week!
Need Help Amplifying Your DEI Efforts?
If you’re curious about how The Roundtable can help your organization amplify its diversity and inclusion initiatives through group coaching and mentoring, let’s start a conversation. And, be sure to download our 2022 L&D Trends Report for more insights into the issues affecting L&D professionals in the year ahead.