On the whole, the United States is rapidly diversifying.
So much so that by 2044, the Census Bureau predicts the U.S. will be a minority-majority nation.
As this shift happens, companies that prioritize diversity and inclusion in the workplace—aligning with the very world we live in—will find themselves primed and prepared for sustainable growth, competitive advantage, and more engaged, satisfied employees.
When leaders and corporations invest in diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, they’re more likely to access top talent, gain a better understanding of consumer preferences, possess a stronger mix of leadership skills, and invite more innovation and creativity throughout the entire organization. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Ahead, we’re diving deeper into the role that diversity plays in the workplace, starting with a detailed diversity and inclusion definition and ending with a look at the benefits of diversity in the workplace.
What is diversity and inclusion?
Diversity is a broad term used to describe the variety of people’s experiences, whether it be individual differences—such as life experiences—or group and social differences—such as racial identity, ethnic background, gender, orientation, or socioeconomic status.
Inclusion describes the practice of actively and intentionally engaging with those diverse individuals—whether within a company, organization, or another group—and creating a supportive environment that both recognizes and utilizes the unique talents, perspectives, and skills of those individuals.
However, a company can’t truly implement diversity and inclusion across its entire hierarchy without another element: equity. Equity focuses on individual needs, and experiences, recognizing that the playing field has been different for different people.
Together, diversity and inclusion in the workplace—especially a formula that prioritizes equity as well— can manifest in many different ways. As an example, think about how some leadership positions require advanced degrees, whether it’s a master’s or a doctorate. By applying the ideas of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and eliminating this requirement for management or executive-level positions, a company can allow for candidates that may have had a less traditional journey into leadership.
Now that we have a solid diversity and inclusion definition, let’s talk a little more about why the concept of diversity, equity, and inclusion is so significant.
Why is diversity, equity, and inclusion important?
Diversity, equity, and inclusion are important because they honor people’s lived experiences and acknowledge that different perspectives are a boon to a company’s mission. Plus, establishing diversity and inclusion in the workplace is very much in line with what most employees want.
According to a 2021 CNBC survey, 80% of employees prefer to work for a company that values diversity, equity, and inclusion. And nearly 40% of workers surveyed said that the events of the past year have made diversity and inclusion a bigger priority at their companies. That’s huge.
Traditional ways of leadership have left important voices on the margins, impacting opportunities for potential candidates, and ignoring untapped markets. But by prioritizing diversity and inclusion in the workplace, particularly in leadership positions, companies can reap a number of benefits.
The benefits of diversity in the workplace
When a company prioritizes diversity in the workplace, it’ll experience several benefits that can help propel the company forward. And those benefits go far beyond the four walls of our offices (or Zoom screens).
When a thoughtful approach to diversity and inclusion is executed in an organization, employees feel happier and collaborate better. Business leaders gain a deeper understanding of consumer preferences. And companies with diverse talent at the helm show stronger leadership and innovation.
Let’s dive a little deeper into the benefits of diversity in the workplace below.
Remember, 80% of employees say they would rather work for a company that supports DEI efforts. While the business world grapples with employees quitting at unprecedented rates, courtesy of the Great Resignation, companies that practice diversity and inclusion in the workplace are at an advantage for top talent.
Understanding consumer preferences
Diversity invites new ideas to companies and organizations. If a business has conducted the same type of market research time and time again, asking the same types of people, it’ll likely get the same results.
But when there’s a focus on diversity and inclusion in the workplace, those employees bring lived experiences that allow for dynamic problem-solving for innovative products. Understanding market trends and the people within them is crucial in building and maintaining a sustainable business. Diversity helps leaders gain a deeper understanding of consumer preferences from various points of view.
Stronger leadership and innovation
When an organization lacks diverse leadership experiences, it likely lacks a dynamic mix of leadership skills and perspectives. Executive teams that all look the same often have leaders problem-solving in similar ways. On the flip side, diversity welcomes new, innovative solutions, problem-solving, and decision-making—and that’s thanks to the variety of lived experiences you get from a diverse workforce.
If an organization has done the work of hiring executives and leadership from diverse backgrounds, it’ll have access to a broad range of ideas, strategies, and skills that allow for innovation. This mix of leadership skills tackles problems from different angles and offers dynamic and informed solutions.
Diversity and inclusion in the workplace is now more important than ever
The benefits of diversity in the workplace are numerous—from the positive effects that diversity can have on a company, to the positive effects that diversity can have on individual employees.
That’s why here at AboveBoard, we prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion by expanding access to executive leadership roles for underrepresented groups, including those who identify as Black, Latinx/Hispanic, and women. Our inclusive platform connects senior executives with exclusive leadership positions — plus, we offer plenty of resources to help along the way.
We’re on a mission to diversify executive leadership. Will you join us?