Diversity in the workplace – benefits and challenges
Our workplaces are increasingly becoming more diverse. With higher rates of immigration, with more millennials entering the workplace and more seniors choosing to stay at work, there is increased diversity. Increased diversity has been reported to produce a myriad of benefits to employees and employers, however, the benefits that are commonly cited are catalyzed when workplaces also focus on equity and inclusion. Diversity alone can bring you benefits, but to achieve transformative positive change, equity and inclusion are also required.
It is common for DEI practitioners to share and promote the “business case” of DEI. It is essentially an argument that irrefutably and logically lays out the incredible benefits from prioritizing and investing in diversity, equity and inclusion. We do this because the “moral imperative” is not enough to affect change. The moral imperative is still not always believed in workplaces – the fact that different groups of people (different than your own) may have a vastly different experience in the workplace than you – can be hard to understand. It is also hard to understand how to effect change when you cannot fully understand the problem in the first place.
The business case is grounded in black and white statistics – if you have x number of women on your board, your profits will increase by x percentage. Logically, the business case should work in convincing organizations to invest and support DEI.
This is not always the case.
The business case will not work if the workplace is not ready for change, if it benefits from the status quo of inequality or if its leaders do not believe in its value.
When we say that the workplace may not be ready for change – what we mean is that the workplace culture may not be “ripe” or it may not promote innovation, creative thinking or strive for excellence. DEI thrives in organizations that strive to be the best, to achieve the most and to outperform all competitors. DEI at its very core is innovative, creative and positively disruptive.
Diversity without equity or inclusion has the potential to result in conflict, however, by ensuring all people in all of their diversity are valued, supported and given a voice and method to contribute, workplaces are able to positively soar.
Here are some of the evidence-based benefits of DEI (otherwise known as the “business case”):
- Strengthened financial performance
- Greater Innovation and Creativity
- Increased Leadership Competencies
- Improved Satisfaction and Engagement
- Improved Corporate Reputation
- Lower Rates of Turnover.
Contact Canadian Equality Consulting today to assist with this.