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  • Writer's pictureTrish Driver

Equality, Diversity & Inclusion - More than "the icing on the cake"?

Our team has decades of experience working in this space, and seeing the impact of organisations getting Equality, Diversity & Inclusion right, so it’s great to see that the research backs up what we’ve observed in our work. We know that creating and sustaining truly inclusive working environments is good for individuals, teams, organisations and those they serve.

60% of people said that they either had, or would leave an employer in favour of a more inclusive one

So let’s start with the individuals - what’s the impact of a truly inclusive working environment for individuals? Almost half of employees say the ability to bring their real selves to work is the most important aspect of workplace culture, which explains why 60% of people said that they either had, or would leave an employer in favour of a more inclusive one. When employees feel included and able to be their real selves at work, they’re significantly more likely to perform better. And that makes sense when you think about the effort it takes to conceal anything about the person you are - it’s not surprising that the freedom from doing that releases people to perform.

And that freedom, combined with a diverse set of perspectives brings something really magical when it comes to creativity and innovation in the workplace. Which, let’s face it, is something every organisation needs in order to succeed in this ever-changing world. A Deloitte Australia study found that when employees think their organisation is committed to, and supportive of diversity and they feel included, employees report better business performance in terms of ability to innovate, (83% uplift) responsiveness to changing customer needs (31% uplift) and team collaboration (42% uplift).

Diversity is the basic ingredient of collective intelligence

Having a broader range of perspectives looking at a problem means that you are much more likely to come up with a different type of solution. Matthew Syed says that diversity “isn’t the icing on the cake. Rather, it is the basic ingredient of collective intelligence” and demonstrates this principle through a beautifully simple diagram showing the “universe of good ideas” as a rectangle, and the knowledge of individuals within a team as circles within those rectangles. In homogenous groups, the range of possible ideas is much smaller - diverse perspectives bring a much bigger possibility of finding the brilliant solution.

Given the benefits of diverse teams, it’s perhaps unsurprising that 2015 McKinsey research found that out of 366 public companies, those that were in the top 25 percent for ethnic and racial diversity in management were more than 35 percent more likely to have financial returns that were above their industry average. Companies in the top 25 percent for gender diversity were 15 percent more likely to have returns that were above the industry average. Diverse and inclusive environments definitely impact the bottom line. And as if that wasn’t enough, inclusive teams have been shown to outperform their peers by 80%.

Time and time again, we observe the creativity and innovation which is born from having a variety of perspectives around a table where everyone’s voice is equally valued. This is a great example of how diversity just doesn’t work without inclusion. In fact - our belief is that if you build organisations with inclusivity at their core, the diversity will follow.

Put simply, an inclusive culture at work is great for everyone involved, whether it's the companies themselves, their employees, or their shareholders and clients. We can help you to get there….


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