The business case for diversity and inclusion - Activate World

The business case for diversity and inclusion


Awareness of the business case for diversity and inclusion in the workforce is on the rise. Companies are beginning to regard both as a source of competitive advantage, and specifically as a key enabler of growth. Underrepresented groups are showing their unrest on social media and beyond, but most employees at the average tech company are still white and male, as they are in many other industries. Men hold 76 percent of U.S. technical jobs, and 95 percent of the American tech workforce is white.

Culture matters these days in corporate America, and companies are looking to innovate in ways that will attract talent and drive performance. Diversity and inclusion have become even more important as sexual harassment scandals rock the corporate, entertainment and government worlds, and the #MeToo movement pushes for all voices to be heard. Diversity and inclusion are critical elements that every employer should be actively incorporating and building upon in their organizational culture, according to workplace experts.

Employers tend to ignore inclusion, focusing on talent acquisition but failing to develop an internal culture that embraces diversity. The result is expensive, productivity-sucking employee turnover and a culture that develops a reputation for exclusion, further perpetuating the problem. When a company invests time and effort into building a multitalented, multifaceted A-team, they will leave if they don’t feel valued, understood, and comfortable.


  • Annual returns at highly gender-diverse tech companies are 5.4 percent higher on average, according to a 2017 report from Morgan Stanley.
  • A 2018 SurveyMonkey poll of U.S. workers reported 70 percent of white employees felt that their opinions were valued at work. Only 58 percent of black employees felt the same.
  • A study from theAmerican Sociological Review shows that greater gender diversity results in more customers. This, in turn, leads to increased sales revenue and relative profits.
  • In 2017, McKinsey & Company found that companies with the most ethnically diverse executive teams are 33 percent more likely to outperform their peers on profitability.

Quests and Actions (Q&A):

  • We tend to pick people we are like. How can we recognize and challenge our unconscious biases when hiring for diversity and inclusion?
  • Given the fact that it directly impacts business outcomes, how important is it for every organization to have a C-suite executive focused on embracing inclusion? Should inclusion advocacy be a separate or HR role, or how could it be incorporated into every leader’s responsibility?
  • Today we have four generations in the same workplace – employees with a diversity of world views and work philosophies that are expected to team up and work together. What can employers do to create a culture that fosters multigenerational collaboration?
Sources: Fast Company, ForbesLinkedinMcKinseyWSJ
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