Nearly 80% of employees say it is important to work at a company that prioritizes diversity and inclusion. So, if we can all agree that diversity is important, why is it that three-quarters of companies still haven’t made diversity and inclusion efforts a priority?
The problem could be how we explain the importance of diversity. When we say things like “it’s the right thing to do,” we are speaking in a language that simply does not translate to the world of business. Business leaders need to see objective, measurable outcomes. Luckily, there are plenty of reasons that prove why diversity, equity, and inclusion are good for a company’s bottom line.
A truly inclusive and diverse workplace benefits nearly every facet of an organization. Diverse companies enjoy a stronger brand and reputation. They see improvements in their ability to recruit talented employees (and keep them engaged). And as more and more diverse employees interact with one another, the intermingling of new opinions and perspectives acts as an incubator for innovation and creativity. Put together, the boost to these companies’ reputations, employee engagement, and innovation lead to stronger business performance overall.
In recent years, diversity has become a hot topic—and for good reason. People generally want to live in a world that is fair and inclusive, and they look favorably on institutions and organizations that they believe promote diversity.
It’s no wonder then that brands that are perceived to be more diverse are seen as more prestigious, and diversity initiatives by popular brands have been shown to lead to increases in brand awareness, purchase intention, and brand loyalty.
But it isn’t enough for businesses to simply say they are diverse or inclusive. In fact, one of the strongest predictors of increased purchase intent was whether the consumers felt the brand’s actions matched their inclusivity initiatives. A well-designed DEI training program can help everyone within the organization understand the company’s diversity goals and what they can do, both inside the office and outside, to create a more inclusive organization.
Brands that are perceived to be more diverse are seen as more prestigious.
As the saying goes, two heads are better than one, but is it really true if all the heads you are hiring are exactly the same? There are plenty of systemic barriers to access that, if your organization isn’t careful, can lead to a homogenous talent pool and all the drawbacks that come with it. But by putting inclusivity, equity, and diversity at the center of how your organization recruits, filters,selects (and promotes) employees, you gain access to a diverse pool of talent with unique and complementary skills that can push your team to the next level.
Companies often blame their recruiting woes on a “talent shortage'' or a “skills gap,” but their problems may lie more with a diversity shortage and an inclusivity gap. When companies’ hiring processes rely too heavily on years of experience and technical capabilities, they may be unwittingly excluding underrepresented groups that have had fewer opportunities to learn these skills and acquire the necessary experience. But when companies broaden how they recruit and evaluate talent, they find there are plenty of creative, hard-working candidates who can quickly learn the relevant skills.
And even when hiring for more senior positions, where job experience is more important, a lack of diversity may be artificially restricting the pool of qualified candidates. In its Diversity and Inclusion Workplace Survey, Glassdoor found that 32% of job seekers would skip applying for a job if the company had a lack of diversity.
Diversity training can help current employees understand the societal and institutional biases that often prevent disadvantaged populations from being considered. But it can also help new and current employees understand the company’s expectations and culture. Furthermore, it can give new hires an opportunity to share their own unique thoughts regarding what an inclusive workplace means to them, ensuring everyone is on the same page.
Glassdoor found that 32% of job seekers would skip applying for a job if the company had a lack of diversity.
Creating a truly inclusive organization requires more than simply attracting employees from diverse backgrounds. It means building an environment where every employee feels like they belong. And when employees feel comfortable and safe being themselves at work, they exhibit greater levels of engagement, higher productivity, lower stress, and even improved mental and physical health (meaning fewer sick days).
When a diverse workplace is built upon a foundation of trust and inclusivity, it does more than just boost employee engagement. Employees who feel safe and supported build stronger relationships with their colleagues and have improved job-related learning outcomes.
As a result of the increased sense of support and engagement, employees often feel less stress and show fewer signs of burnout and improvements in physical and psychological health—further reinforcing employee engagement.
And if that weren’t enough, engaged employees simply outperform their less-engaged counterparts on nearly every metric: They are up to 65% less likely to leave the organization, are absent from work 37% less, and are 21% more productive (and get 10% higher customer ratings, too).
Through DEI training and other inclusive initiatives, your company can help every employee feel they have recognition and representation within their organization.
Employees who feel safe and supported build stronger relationships with their colleagues and have improved job-related learning outcomes.
Those “Ah-ha!” moments that seem to be a part of every great innovation story rarely happen in a bubble. They are the result of a team sharing ideas and building on one another until, finally, the solution to the problem becomes so clear that it’s hard to imagine how it hadn’t been seen before. And the more diverse and unique ideas, concepts, and points of view an innovator (or anyone else) has floating around them, the more likely they are to find the perfect mix.
For companies looking to create the best environment for innovative, outside-the-box ideas, the key is creating multi-faceted diversity. Organizations that exhibit a mixture of both inherent diversity traits, such as gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation, and acquired diversity traits, such as cultural and experiential differences, are up to 45% more likely to report YoY market share growth and up to 70% more likely to report capturing a completely new market segment.
Diversity training initiatives can be a great way to mix up different viewpoints and break down barriers between teams. For example, intra-team activities and brainstorming sessions can help bring together diverse ideas that otherwise may have never been brought to the surface.
Diversity training initiatives can be a great way to mix up different viewpoints and break down barriers between teams.
For business leaders who are constantly faced with difficult challenges and limited resources, more “creativity” may simply not be enough to convince shareholders of the value of investing in diversity and inclusion programs. Luckily for advocates of DEI (and everyone who wants to live in a more inclusive world), more diverse companies have demonstrably better profitability and stock performance compared to their more homogenous counterparts. That’s something even the most number-focused decision-maker can get behind!
A study of how well publicly traded companies weathered the Great Recession found that while the S&P 500 fell by more than 35% between 2007 and 2009, the stock prices of highly diverse and inclusive companies actually experienced a 14.4% gain.
But diversity affects much more than just a company’s stock performance. McKinsey found that in 2019, companies with gender-diverse executive teams were 25% more likely to outperform industry averages in terms of profitability, while those with culturally-diverse executive teams were 36% more likely to have above-average profitability.
In 2019, companies with gender-diverse executive teams were 25% more likely to outperform industry averages in terms of profitability, while those with culturally-diverse executive teams were 36% more likely to have above-average profitability.
Diversity training is a valuable tool in your organization’s lifelong journey toward equity and equality. Whether your company is taking its first step toward building a more inclusive workplace or continuing a successful strategy, the peer-to-peer collaboration tools in 360Learning’s collaborative learning platform make it possible for everyone on your team to work together to build diversity training that is truly inclusive.
Claim your free ebook on collaborative learning and see for yourself how you can lay the foundation for a more collaborative environment with 360Learning.