Can diversity be your business’s powerhouse? (1/2)

Diversity creates higher revenue. Companies that enjoy high rates of gender balance at the executive level are 21% more likely to have above-average profits. Culturally diverse executive teams are 35% more likely to see above average profits. You will not only grow profits but also gain an edge in the quest for talent. More and more, top talent is concerned with the organisational mind-set as much as its profitability.

Diversity: a simple image exercise?

Diversity and inclusion can result in financial gains, but they’re also a matter of ethics in this day and age. We must understand that efforts toward diversity must be authentic and not forced. Also, organisations shouldn’t limit their thinking to gender balance or cultural diversity.

Luxembourg is a melting pot, with people coming from all over the world. Different people brought to work together in the same team complement each other and are able to better address client requirements. Diverse teams allows organisations to match the team’s culture to the client’s and connect more effectively.

Can targets really help?

We may feel like we are failing at the task if we set targets and goals. Targets, however, bring attention to the issues and provide solutions. They also have the potential to mobilise management to address balance issues more quickly. In turn, this increased focus on inclusion leads to more innovation and creativity. As a result, we’ll have better solutions for clients and ultimately, better profits for the organisation.

For the organisation to thrive, we must have conversations that we might see as taboo. Without them, we can’t push forward the diversity agenda. Targets and goals allow staff to talk about what the organisation and individuals are modelling and how that is promoting or detracting from the organisation’s diversity agenda.

What actions can we take to have more diverse organisations?

Organisations can provide tools, training and a support system so that managers make the most of having a diverse team. The most important first step is embracing the conversation about expectations and the behaviour we need to adopt for inclusion to flourish.

Diversity beneficial for companies

Both diversity and inclusion must be part of the organisational strategy. For example, EY personnel hails from 72 different countries. To get it right, you must think out of the box and ensure that the strategy touches the whole personnel management system. Recruiting, hiring, training and managing personnel all contribute to creating a diverse organisation.

Organisations should consider how inclusive behaviour is being modelled. They should add an inclusion and diversity lens even to job descriptions and advertisements.

Our series on diversity

This post is the first of a series resulted from our last event Diversity: Your Business’s Powerhouse for Profit. Stay tuned for the second part. We’ll share more tips for allowing diverse teams to thrive. Follow our Facebook page to find out when we publish or subscribe to our newsletter.

We would like to thank our panellists and moderator, who guaranteed the success of our event.

From EY, Annette Boehm had the ‘corporate lens’ and spoke strategies being used to support diversity as an organisation. Olivier Lemaire represented the perspective of a manager who builds and leverages diversity within his team.

Brian Ballantyne,  who is responsible for diversity and inclusion in his day job, also is an advocate for diversity through his work with organisations such as WIDE. He is also the author of two books – Confessions of a Working Father and Working Together – the Joy of Teams.

Violetta Kuvaeva of SES, represented women in science and technology (engineering and economics) working in male-dominated industries.

Lisa Francis-Jennings of StratAffect SA moderated the Kitchen Table Conversation and has also provided us with the report of the event.