By Bryce Kelly
How much does prioritizing diversity and inclusion impact your company’s bottom line? Quite a lot, actually. Businesses globally are realizing that focusing on diversity and inclusion (D&I) efforts and equity in the workplace carries a distinct advantage that can make an organization more effective in achieving its mission. Here are some of the reasons the world’s top companies and nonprofits are prioritizing D&I.
Forbes emphasizes the need for companies to “evolve [their] insight and cross-cultural intelligence to meet the unique needs of those who represent the changing workplace and marketplace.” Customers, employees, and business partners will feel more confident with your business when they know that diversity and inclusion is prioritized in your organization. This will better position you to market to a larger group of customers and potential partners.
Dr. Amanda Hinojosa of Howard University advised the YLAI Network on the need to educate ourselves about unconscious bias in the hiring process. “If you recognize that everyone has preferences, some founded, some not, you can then attempt to limit the negative impact of bias on your decisions … by then structuring your assessment of candidates around those tasks and focusing on those who are best-qualified, you will provide the best for your company.” In removing biases and prejudices in your hiring process, you can make sure that you are choosing team members based on their qualifications, thus providing the most-qualified candidates to make for a stronger organization.
Diversity of thought
Likely the most self-evident benefit, but essential nonetheless. The Harvard Business Review reports that diverse leadership teams “are more likely to accept and integrate differences of opinion. Members of these boards believe that both their expertise and willingness to learn is recognized and incorporated into the board’s work.” A diverse and inclusive team encourages and empowers different and more interesting ideas, so an organization can consider every possible course of action and select the most effective one.
Dr. Katherine Phillips, senior vice dean at Columbia University, ran several experiments to determine how group diversity affects problem-solving. It was discovered that, on average, teams with members with very different backgrounds and appearances far outperformed homogeneous teams in problem-solving tests. Team members were more likely to share their unique perspectives and knowledge on issues when they saw that their partners had surface-level differences, and those teams reached better outcomes.
“When you are better equipped with new understandings, and you prepare yourself with resources for how to best manage a challenge, you can apply this knowledge in times of change with confidence.” The more skills, experiences, and perspectives in your team, the better you can tackle unusual problems. Learn more in our article on building your resilience.
Want to learn more about how diversity and inclusion can benefit your organization or how you can implement these values? Check out our other YLAI4All resources soon.