Plenty of research now exists to show that diverse and inclusive companies out-perform those which are not.

“A Boston Consulting Group study found that companies with more diverse management teams have 19% higher revenues due to innovation.”

If creativity is important to success then so is diversity. And for a company wanting to diversify its work-force, it is just as essential to create a culture of inclusion and belonging. Without this a workforce cannot thrive. A 2018 Deloitte survey shows that 74% of the people surveyed believe their organisation is more innovative when it has a culture of inclusion.

By 2025, 75% of the workforce will be made up of millennials. Research has shown that this group is actively looking for diversity and inclusion when choosing between potential employers. To attract, recruit and retain the best candidates companies will increasingly have to show they meet the demands of this demographic.

From the language used in internal and external communications to the actual culture created in a firm, nothing will beat a company with a sense of belonging when attracting a diverse group of people. A thriving and well-managed workforce with an inclusive leadership team will soon become known for being so. Automatically this becomes a magnet for attracting top talent.

A thriving work-force feels trusted and trusts the leadership team in return, there is open and respectful communication. When organisations engage their people in a way that values inclusion, they are more likely to perform at a higher level.

Inclusion is imperative. Embracing it needs strong and brave leadership.

What not to do

Many companies find it tempting to parachute someone in to run a single-issue workshop at the first sign of discord because it’s easier than having what might be an uncomfortable conversation about company culture. But to really create positive change we need to know how people feel and then start a conversation about why that is the case, then follow this up by looking at what can be done to change things.

Let’s say the leadership team want to run a company-wide session on gender bias as a reaction to one unsettling conversation between a small group of men and women. This is not a solution because it does not provide any information to the leadership team.

  • Is there in fact a company-wide problem between men and women?
  • Do the people involved need to be managed more appropriately?
  • Do the women in the company feel they were being excluded on a daily basis?

The leadership team have no information on what needs to change, the thing to do here is to understand the culture fully before deciding on which actions to take.

Take an x-ray and ask questions before diagnosing what the issue might be. Don’t just stick a plaster on it.

If you want to know what to do when setting up a diversity event read this blog about asking people to speak at your events for free.