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Workforce diversity can improve company’s bottom line

Employees are more engaged, and the business appeals to a broader client base

A recent report by McKinsey & Co. found high-performing companies tended to have more diverse leadership teams. (Depositphotos.com)

A recent report by McKinsey & Co. found high-performing companies tended to have more diverse leadership teams.
(Depositphotos.com)

A successful diversity and inclusion strategy can help business performance in many ways.

According to a report by McKinsey & Co. in its January 2018 publication, “Delivering through Diversity,” “Companies in the top-quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 21 percent more likely to outperform on profitability and 27 percent more likely to have superior value creation. Companies in the top-quartile for ethnic/cultural diversity on executive teams were 33 percent more likely to have industry-leading profitability.”

Equally as compelling, the data revealed that not being diverse can hurt a company’s performance. “Overall, companies in the bottom quartile for both gender and ethnic/cultural diversity were 29 percent less likely to achieve above-average profitability than were all other companies in our data set.”

Janis Petrini, an Express Employment Professionals Office Owner in Grand Rapids, Michigan, said the study’s findings echo what she’s experienced with her corporate clients.

“Companies that have a strategy for diversity and inclusion outperform other organizations,” she said. “There is a strong business outcome for diversity and inclusion.”

Express Employment Professionals coaches clients to proactively consider diversity and inclusion.

“We talk to our companies about pay equity and total rewards, and how their brand communicates their culture and how they need to have retention strategies, engagement, and advancement strategies in their talent systems,” she said. “We also talk to clients about engagement surveys to measure where they are starting from and then how to activate the diversity and inclusion you need to be a destination employers.”

The idea is that diversity and inclusion are not simply true/false, yes/no concepts. Rather, the process is just that – a process, or evolution, that a company embarks on with aspirations to move toward increased diversity and inclusion.

How do diversity and inclusion bring about improved performance? They help foster an employee’s sense of engagement with the company that can lead to increased job satisfaction and employee productivity. This success has been noted at GE Digital’s New Orleans location.

“We are committed to an environment where all employees feel safe and empowered to bring their best selves to work every day,” said Tracy Thomas, communications manager at GE Digital New Orleans. “This is GE’s culture of inclusion.”

When employees are encouraged to be themselves and accepted as they are, they are happier and more productive at work. An employee who feels alienated in the workplace is not going to be happy coming to work. An unhappy employee is to be less productive, drags down morale of the group, and spreads a negative image of the company.

Increased diversity and inclusion can help a company relate better to its customers and community.

“By creating an environment where a diverse workforce is a stated organizational goal, we make intentional choices – from how we word job descriptions, to how we recruit and how we ultimately create a candidate slate for roles,” Thomas said. “This diversity ensures we have many different perspectives when solving problems, as each person brings their own background and experiences.”