The Business Case for Diversity
By: Joshua Williams
Diversity is a term many are becoming familiar with. A growing buzzword in the business community, it hangs out in boardrooms, decorates mission statements and has increasingly taken center stage to the public eye. The term has conjured up images of monotone presentations about respecting coworker’s differences, mandatory events celebrating variety and (in the recent past) carried more of an association to a quota than a valuable asset. Simply put, diversity has become a popular topic only partially employed and still restrained to the confines of lip service in many organizations. However, progress is among us.
Thanks to the efforts of numerous business leaders, scholars and community leaders, many are learning not only the moral benefits of properly executed diversity initiatives but also the strategic advantages they provide to business. Companies and organizations around the country have picked up on the importance of diversity as a strategic pillar and are reaping the rewards. Here are some reasons that many are not only embracing diversity efforts but converting them into a priority:
- Innovation: According to a recent study conducted by Forbes, diversity is a substantial agent in the innovative process. It allows companies to tap into numerous perspectives that simultaneously generate new ideas while permitting a glance into the lives of all consumers they are serving.
- Talent Attraction: Diversity is a must for companies looking to attract and retain top talent. Having a well-rounded leadership team will signal that your company is welcoming while allowing recruiters to tap into a more diverse talent pool. With the growing rise of minority populations, diversity will be a crucial component to talent attraction strategies.
- Talent Retention: A diverse workforce helps not only in attracting employees but in keeping them as well. A diverse workforce promotes an accepting work culture that reduces prejudice and creates a hospitable environment to all. Furthermore, employees that have representation in leadership positions are more likely to stay as they see the true potential for growth as exemplified by current leaders that look alike or come from similar backgrounds.
- Brand Improvement: Although beneficial to an employer brand, successful diversity campaigns bolster the consumer image as well. According to the 2015 Nielson Global Corporate Sustainability Report, 66% of global consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable brands—an increase from 55% in the previous year. The growing millennials are conscious about social impact and view that as a true value proposition when doing business.
Although many are warming up to the important role that diversity plays in 21st century business, many struggle to start their own initiatives or improve what’s in place. To aid in such efforts, the Louisville Society for Human Resource Management (LSHRM) will be hosting Disrupting Diversity: From the Transactional to the Transformational on November 14th at the UL Delphi Center.
The keynote will feature Terrian Barnes, owner of Fe-smart, discussing the importance of diversity, current trends in the HR community and diversity’s future in the workplace. For more information or to register, please visit the link here.