• Emily Malone

Workplace diversity helps your business grow. But there’s a bit more to it than that.

It was recently found that businesses with a balance of men and women on their executive teams are 21% more likely to outperform their competitors, and those with team members from a good mix of ethnic backgrounds are 35% more likely.

While gender and ethnic diversity obviously doesn’t automatically translate into profit, the correlation is there, and it suggests that when businesses commit themselves to diverse leadership, they actually become more successful at what they do.

Connect with the society you serve as a business

It’s not really a surprise that more diverse companies and institutions are achieving better performance in this day and age, seeing as we live in such a deeply connected world now. Laura Hinton of PWC UK made an excellent point when she said:

When employees feel involved, respected and connected, employers can tap into a greater richness of ideas and problem-solving approaches. This also helps companies respond effectively to customers, attract and retain high performing employees, empower teams to collaborate, raise productivity, future-proof their businesses, and, ultimately, deliver sustainable growth.

In order to be better at what we do and provide real value, we need more diverse talents, views and thinking that authentically reflects the society we work in and serve as a business. If your company reflects and embraces all the wonderful differences in its society, you’re more trusted, respected, and cared about. As Evita Stoop of IBM puts it, ‘people care about businesses that care about them, and a company that reflects and embraces the diversity of its society is a perfect trusted partner in uncertain times’.

But discrimination and bias still exists, and diversity doesn’t work without inclusion

When we focus on only how diversity can impact our business goals, we’re oversimplifying the link between diversity and business outcomes. And this is where we end up failing to talk about the real issue — inclusion. Because really, you can’t have one without the other — or rather, you shouldn’t.

CIDP’s research finds that discrimination and bias (whether conscious or unconscious) clearly still exists at work, with negative outcomes for individuals (such as reduced access to promotions, etc.) For example, a HBR study showed that ‘once in the job, senior-level people from non-white ethnic groups felt pressure to sponsor people from the same group without focusing on hiring the best people – no matter their ethnicity’.

What does diversity and inclusion actually look like at work? And how can we make sure business leaders are taking responsibility to encourage inclusivity instead of simply hiring a more diverse team and expecting ROI?

Remove barriers, encourage an inclusive culture, and drive change.

As Vernā Myers says, “Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.”

We need to promote a fair, equal and inclusive workplace culture that positively impacts those who work with us to truly become a diverse business that benefits from its people. We need to care more about the growth and well-being of our people, our clients, and our society and less about our ROI. Because in truth, when we start caring more about the former, the latter will follow.

Nottingham, UK Women in Tech

Our next Nottingham, UK Women in Tech event is just a week away, and there’s still time to sign up for your free spot! Women in Tech is an initiative that aims to bridge the diversity gap in Tech by providing support, advice, inspiration and friendship to those who want to thrive in a career in Tech.

This time we’ve got 4 amazing speakers presenting talks on ‘How to be your own boss’, ‘How we learned Salesforce with Trailhead’, ‘How to write UX microcopy that converts’ and ‘How to be awesome at public speaking’. Plus, we’ll be providing lots of food, drinks, and running a competition to win some useful goodies. Read more about it and sign up here! We’d love to see you there.