In 2015, consulting firm McKinsey & Company published the groundbreaking study: “Why Diversity Matters.” For the first time, research uncovered a direct correlation between diversity and financial performance.1
The data revealed companies with greater ethnic and racial diversity among staff performed 35% better than companies whose staff demographics matched the national average. Additionally, companies with the most gender diversity performed 15% better than companies with less gender diversity.1
Since McKinsey’s study six years ago, more research from the nation’s largest companies have validated the benefits of maintaining diverse employee populations.
Today, most large businesses actively promote diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) practices by making the efforts a top HR priority. Forbes published a list of reasons why diversity and inclusion are essential for businesses to succeed.2 Here’s a sampling:
4 reasons why diversity is essential
1. Attracts a variety of skillsets
When companies hire people from all backgrounds, employees provide the business with wide-ranging skillsets, which results in more creative problem solving and original ideas that help grow the business and add value.
2. Generates more creative ideas
Having a working environment filled with employees of different backgrounds, skills, experiences and knowledge leads to an increase in innovative and creative ideas. What’s more, employees feel more comfortable sharing ideas among coworkers within a diverse environment.
3. Drives business and profits
A diverse and inclusive workforce ultimately leads to higher revenues. Employees will be happier in their job roles, sparking new ideas and increasing productivity. This leads to greater business success and a distinct competitive advantage.
4. Helps employees get more done
Teamwork and cooperative work can increase productivity because diverse teams share their broad-ranging skills and experiences with coworkers, which promotes more ideas and enthusiasm within the business.
How to foster more diverse and inclusive cultures
The benefits of building businesses on a framework of diversity are irrefutable. But how can companies begin to create more diverse and inclusive cultures? Here are a few ideas to get started:
- Create a diversity and inclusion committee: A group of employees can work on diversity projects such as creating a code of conduct, cultural programming and employee education.3
- Build a diverse executive team: This has a significant impact on performance because it creates a trickle-down effect. A diverse C-suite that reflects the employee population “walks the talk.”3
- Don’t tolerate racism, misogyny: Create an environment where such behaviors aren’t tolerated. Communicate the company’s zero tolerance policies to employees regularly.3
- And follow this DE&I checklist during planning: Create an intentional decision-making system, value differences, support allyship, offer varied demographic experiences, and promote curiosity and empathy.4
As more company leaders realize there are significant benefits to transforming organizations into diverse-aware businesses, DE&I practices will eventually fuse into every organization’s DNA. Until that time, however, there is still much work to be done.
Securian Financial is building a diverse and inclusive culture from the inside out. This means creating a welcoming and empowering environment where every voice is valued and heard, and employees feel confident bringing their full selves to work.