For too long the discussion of diversity and inclusion has been restricted to the confines of human resources and deemed as a ‘nice to have’ culture piece. However, with stockpiles of evidence accumulating that demonstrate the commercial benefits of inclusive workplace practices, this time has long passed.
And, while one would hope that the motivators of equality and fairness would have been enough to deliver substantial change, this has not entirely been the case. So now, in the hope of promoting additional progress, let’s discuss the business case for inclusion.
Inclusion, by its very nature, leads to innovation with inclusive companies being 1.7 times more likely to be industry leaders. For clarity, this linkage comes as a direct product of innovation being an inherently vulnerable exercise and inclusive environments being ones that allow this practice to thrive. Once you understand this linkage, the fact that diverse and inclusive companies have 19% higher revenue make a lot more sense and demonstrate the commercial benefit of inclusion.
With this realisation, there are three key mentality shifts that every business needs to embrace as they are the fundamentals of achieving inclusion, innovation, and commercial dominance.
1. Look for ‘Culture Add’ not ‘Culture Fit’
When building your team, if you continue to seek a ‘culture fit’ you will end up with an entirely homogenised team. Of course, this should not be a reason to throw company values and cultural foundations to the wind, but we must swap the search for a ‘culture fit’ for finding candidates who are a ‘culture add’. By doing this, you also lay the foundations for diversity of thought in your team, and the decision making of teams such as this outperforms others 87% of the time.
2. All Efforts Must Be Top Down
In the countless projects and partnerships that The Dream Collective has undertaken, we have learnt that true change is incredibly difficult to achieve without buy-in from senior leadership. For this reason, whatever change you are trying to make in your organisation you need to establish and demonstrate that this is supported from the top.
3. It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint
When pushing for social change, it is tempting to run at issues with full force. The risk that we must be cautious of is becoming dejected when the world isn’t changed overnight, and this is a lesson that can be applied both in and outside of company structures. If you are seeking to create systemic change, throw your full weight behind the issue, but be committed to sustaining this – fleeting or passing efforts only do damage to your progress towards positive change and trust is far easier to break than to build. So, take your time to make carefully considered steps.
Even with the mounting evidence for the benefits of diverse and inclusive work environments, there are still countless distractions, triggers, and pitfalls that come part and parcel with this topic and the efforts that surround it. So, I encourage you to engage and to allow your business to become another example and further evidence to the need for inclusion, as both socially and commercially, the benefits are undeniable.
Written by The Dream Collective's Head Of Growth & Innovation, Taylor Hawkins.