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HRAnswerLink

Diversity: So Much More Than Just a Buzzword

Smiling businesspeopleNowadays, diversity has moved beyond meaning fairness and equal treatment and has become synonymous with success. Forward-thinking companies are finding that a diverse employee population delivers a multitude of benefits — including a boost to their bottom lines.

Consider these impressive statistics from a recent report by McKinsey & Company, Diversity Matters, which examined proprietary data sets for 366 public companies across a range of industries in Canada, Latin America, the U.K., and the U.S.:

  • Gender diverse companies are 15% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.
  • Ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.
  • In the U.S., for every 10% increase in racial and ethnic diversity on the senior-executive team, earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) rise 0.8%.
  • Companies in the bottom quartile both for gender and ethnicity/race are lagging behind their competitors.

With studies like these popping up every day, the benefits are hard to deny. But what is it exactly about a diverse workforce that’s so beneficial to companies?

The real deal with diversity
The backbone of any successful business is being able to connect with and serve its client base — and as the world becomes more physically, culturally, socio-economically, and ethnically diverse, it’s becoming increasingly imperative for companies to follow suit.

In other words, a diverse client base calls for a diverse team.

Casting aside differences and uniting a qualified, yet varied, group of employees under a brand reflects an image of fairness and honesty, which is why diverse businesses are much more likely to appeal to a wider group of clients and prospective employees. When organizations make diversity a top priority, recruiting and retaining top talent becomes easier.

The benefits are internal, too. Mixing people from different backgrounds not only brings new ideas to the table, but it also boosts creativity, productivity, and morale.

Diversify your business

So how can your clients bring more diversity into the mix?

The first step is defining what diversity means to the organization. Organizations must develop a stance on maintaining equality, fairness, and respect in company practices. Then, they must focus on uniting the diverse team with one goal, such as generating new ideas, team building, or overall business success.

Remember, a truly diverse company does more than simply offering “equal opportunity” employment — which, of course, is important, but in order to be truly successful, team growth needs to feel organic. Effective diversity programs are not mandated from the outside, but rather are created by employers who go beyond legal requirements to create a fully open and engaging company culture.

Once the organization has a clear direction, it should identify what it wants from a diversity program and how the hiring process will change.

  • For many workplaces, this means assessing every level of the business — from the board of directors at the top all the way through middle management and lower-level employees — to see where the company currently could embrace more inclusiveness.
  • Leaders must look at hiring policies, comparing them to Federal EOCC guidelines and other reliable HR resources, like those offered by HRAnswerLink.
  • Employers also need to implement training processes for both new hires and current staff, so everyone is on the same page as the new diversification policies take hold.

Developing a diverse workforce requires sustained commitment, but for those who do it well, the benefits are well worth the effort.

“Diversity isn’t just about bringing people into a room; it’s what you do with those people that count.” — The HR Pros

Are your clients interested in finding out how to make diversity count in their businesses? They can learn more about intentional diversification in our Training On Demand session, Fostering Diversity in the Workplace.


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