We asked the industry experts...

Why does diversity and inclusion matter?

Monika Hamori, Associate Professor of Human Resource Management at IE Business School

Monika Hamori
Associate Professor of Human Resource Management at IE Business School

Diverse and inclusive organisations attract a larger pool of talent, and therefore manage to hire higher-quality talent. They are preferred by minority candidates over companies that offer similar working conditions but are not inclusive.

Organisations with a diverse set of employees – those with diverse demographics, educational and functional backgrounds – achieve diverse decision-making styles and have a lower likelihood of ‘groupthink’.

Diverse top management teams are better at making more complex decisions than homogeneous ones. The diversity of their members, in terms of educational backgrounds, job functions, and organisational tenure, is especially beneficial for company performance in complex business situations – for example, when they are expanding internationally.

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Stephen Frost, Founder CEO of Included

Stephen Frost
Founder and CEO of Included

Diversity and inclusion have a significant impact on people, businesses and wider society. An inclusive environment helps individuals from all demographics and backgrounds to feel psychologically safe, respected and valued for who they are.

On a business level, inclusive and diverse organisations are more productive, generate more revenue, perform better at problem-solving and strategy tasks, think more creatively, are better at negotiating, and make enhanced decisions. Additionally, employees at these organisations say they feel more engaged, motivated and trusted, and have a sense of well-being in the workplace.

This also has a positive impact on a business's products and services, which will ultimately affect communities and the general public. For example, if a healthcare organisation has embedded inclusive decision-making into its strategy and research culture, this would support them in creating real medical impact for under-represented groups around the world.

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Fiona Daniel - Founder, CEO, Non-Exec Director fd2i

Fiona Daniel
Founder, CEO, Non-Exec Director

It matters because we all want to be in an environment where we can just be who we are and be recognised for the skills and expertise we bring to the table.

All of us are different, no two people are the same yet for some reason, we continue to place people in boxes, label people and change people to fit a “cultural norm” through the biases, judgments, and assumptions we hold.

When we continue to do this, we suppress differences, voices, perspectives, ideas which in turn means we miss out on innovation, growth and so much more.

It impacts performance, engagement, and trust which embraces inside and outside the company making it harder for us to attract individuals and more importantly keep them.

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Angela Lane, Senior Executive in Talent Management, Researcher, and Author

Angela Lane
Senior Executive in Talent Management, Researcher, and Author

Not to state the obvious, diversity and inclusion are both the right and the smart things to do.

As organisations become more driven by purpose, they are faced with an exciting opportunity to have a positive impact on the social agenda, on equality, and on equity.

At the same time, as the world becomes increasingly interconnected, organisations with an employee base matching the external world will be better positioned for success.

To unlock that potential, they will need to foster a culture of inclusion and psychological safety. That is how it all comes together: the right and the smart thing to do.

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Suki Sandhu OBE, Founder, CEO, Board Member, Philanthropist

Suki Sandhu OBE
Founder, CEO, Board Member, Philanthropist

In the UK, organisations that boast greater diversity within senior management teams are reaping the benefits of an inclusive culture. McKinsey has reported that diverse teams perform better and there is an enhancement at the bottom line of businesses.

It’s not hard to see why: after all, when you starve a group of external opinions or insights, you lower their chances of finding creative solutions to ongoing problems. Bring together a group with similar identities and backgrounds and they will struggle to challenge each other or innovate beyond the comfort of what they know.

Today, diversity is a competitive advantage. Organisations that have it will secure the benefits of an engaged team, bringing multiple perspectives to the table. Meanwhile, their homogenous counterparts continue to miss a trick, sticking with what they know for fear of change or through force of habit. For any modern business seeking to grow its profits, it’s clear that diversity is no longer just ‘nice to have’.

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ragil ratnam, Educator, Leadership Advisor, Keynote Speaker.

Ragil Ratnam
Educator, Leadership Advisor, Keynote Speaker

Diversity and inclusion matter for a variety of reasons, the most important one being that they are the right thing to do. As businesses have started to realise that they do not exist purely for commercial and economic purposes, but in fact play a significant role in human society, they have had to acknowledge that they need to be role models of good citizenship. This requires championing difference and diversity in the workplace, and providing opportunities to make contributions by to those that have historically struggled to do so.

Beyond this, the reason that diversity and inclusion matter in business is, when they’re done right, they lead to significant sustainable improvements in business performance, profitability and employee satisfaction. Incorporating the contributions of different people with different backgrounds significantly increases innovation and creativity, broadens the range of skills available to the business, and increases productivity.

Representative diversity also ensures that the inside of your company mirrors your market, and so has a better understanding of it.

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Tahmid Chowdhury
Policy Programme Manager and Diversity & Inclusion Coach

The urge for more action relating to diversity and inclusion is growing every day. As illustrated by the events of 2020 with the Black Lives Matter movement, they can no longer be ignored and shifted to be a societal problem to be dealt with by others. If businesses and organisations expect to serve an increasingly diverse set of customers, or attract and retain the best talent within an increasingly diverse workforce, we must make diversity a fundamental part of how we form our actions and activities.

There is a growing amount of literature which demonstrates that a more diverse organisation performs better financially. The influential report, ‘Why Diversity Matters’ by McKinsey, highlights that:

Companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.

Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.

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Flooris Van Der Walt
Author, Executive, Mindset Transformational Coach

Firstly, diversity and inclusion matter because people matter. If you do not believe people matter, then forget about diversity and inclusion.

Secondly, in the complex world we are facing today, one brain cannot accommodate all the aspects, variations or alternatives to build a clearer understanding of the situation and how to deal with it.

In this respect diversity and inclusion help the individual to gather the most perspectives and try to make sense of the differences.

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