Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2017 - 13
DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION
DR. SHAWN ANDREWS
Most of us intuitively know that having
diversity at work is a good thing. But,
do you really know why? There is now
overwhelming evidence of a strong
business case for diversity and inclusion.
Diversity is the collective mixture of
differences that includes individual
and organizational characteristics such
backgrounds, and behaviors. Inclusion is
the achievement of a work environment,
in which all individuals are treated fairly
and respectfully, have equal access to
opportunities and resources, and can
contribute fully to the organization's
success. In other words, it's about culture.
DIVERSITY IN SOCIETY TODAY
The fact is, as a global society, we are
becoming more diverse every day.
We see it in our workplaces, in our
churches, in our communities, and in
our schools. For the first time in the U.S.,
the 2014 Census Bureau showed that
racial and ethnic minorities now surpass
non-Hispanic whites as the largest
group of American children under five
years old. This means that Caucasian
kindergarteners are now in the minority
for the 3rd straight year. This marked
a milestone in a trend toward a more
diverse U.S. that's projected to continue.
In addition to increasing racial and
ethnic diversity, we are also becoming
more diverse in age as people are living
longer and continuing to work. We
continue to see increases in gender
diversity, both in developed and
developing countries. Because of our
expanded demographics, society is
becoming increasingly intolerant of
a lack of diversity in their companies.
Despite this, there are still many
organizations that have yet to jump on
D&I IN THE WORKPLACE
Multiple global studies have showed
that better problem-solving, decisionmaking, and increased creativity are
positively associated with diversity.
When it comes to innovation, diversity
wins again. Using employee data from
Denmark, researchers found robust
evidence that diversity in workforces'
cultural backgrounds, education and
demographic characteristics is an
important source of firm innovation
among white-collar occupations. The
reason for this is that people from
different backgrounds see problems and
solutions from different perspectives, and
that richness of ideas leads to stronger
outcomes, making diversity a proven
ingredient of creativity and innovation.
Other studies have shown that customer
satisfaction, employee satisfaction,
higher morale, increased competitive
advantage, and enhanced corporate
image are all products of having a more
diverse and inclusive workforce.
An often-cited study by Catalyst found
that Fortune 500 companies with
three or more women board directors
attained significantly higher financial
performance, on average, than those
with the lowest representation of women
board directors. Companies with the
highest percentage of women achieved
53 percent higher return on equity, 42
percent higher return on sales, and 66
percent higher return on invested capital.
They also found that the link between
women board directors and corporate
performance held across industries-
including consumer staples, healthcare,
industrials and information technology.
WHEN IT COMES TO
The Center for Talent Innovation
researched global corporations and
found that those with diverse leaders
yielded benefits to individuals. Employees
reported that they were 60 percent more
likely to see their ideas developed, 75
percent more likely to see their innovation
implemented, 70 percent more likely to
have captured a new market in the past
year, and 87 percent more likely to feel
welcome and included in their teams.
These are big numbers!
D&I has emerged as a business-critical
factor in the ability to innovate, attract
clients, and retain and cultivate the
best talent. Employers will lose their
competitive advantage if they do not
utilize the wide range of skills and talents
offered by women, racial and ethnic
minority groups, older adults, LGBT
employees, and people with disabilities.
Let's hope that more companies commit
to creating diverse and inclusive cultures
for us all.
Dr. Shawn Andrews has 23 years of
biopharmaceutical leadership experience.
Her dissertation research focused on
leadership, emotional intelligence, gender
and unconscious bias in the workplace. She
is CEO of Andrews Research International.
T R A I N I N G I N DUSTR Y MA GAZ INE - COACHING AND CULTURE 20 1 7 I WWW. T RAI NINGINDU S T RY . C OM/ MAGAZ I NE
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2017