Everyone benefits from more inclusivity
Too often, we treat diversity issues as only relevant to the group being affected. However, realizing gender equity doesn’t just benefit women; having a more inclusive culture has far-reaching benefits for everyone in an organization.
The benefits of increasing diversity can be seen by comparing the performance of diverse companies to that of their less diverse counterparts. Scientific American clearly lays out a number of studies that have illustrated this effect:
After examining the influence of gender diversity on the performance of the top firms in Standard & Poor's Composite 1500 list, business professors Cristian Deszö of the University of Maryland and David Ross of Columbia University showed that firm value increases by $42 million with women in top management positions.
Similar effects can be found by examining companies across the world: a team of researchers at the Credit Suisse Research Institute found that among 2,360 companies, those with at least one woman on their boards delivered higher average returns on equity and better average growth.
After Orlando Richard, a professor of management at the University of Texas at Dallas, and his colleagues surveyed executives at 177 national banks in the U.S., they found that for innovation-focused banks, increases in racial diversity were clearly correlated with enhanced financial performance.
Diversity helps increase creativity and improves company performance because heterogeneous groups have been shown in numerous studies to prepare better and more thoroughly consider all evidence. Furthermore, social diversity makes it more likely for diverse perspectives to be voiced and considered. This is critical for innovation, which requires looking at problems in new ways.
Inclusion is necessary to realize the benefits of diversity—such as mutual respect, improved conflict resolution, and increased creativity—and avoid tension between diverse social groups. It is crucial to ensure that these benefits are sustained in the long term. Quotas and other initiatives to increase minority hires can increase the number of women and other minorities in the workforce, but inclusive workplace cultures are necessary to ensure that those hired stay and advance.
However, if those in the dominant group aren’t included in conversations about diversity, then they often lose sight of its benefits or view inclusion as a zero-sum game that puts them at a disadvantage.
Through the Equity in the Job Search Symposium, we will counter this perception, illustrating the principle that everyone benefits from more inclusivity.