International Women’s Day 2019: Delivering Growth through Diversity

In Diversity, Thinking by New Link Editor

New Link Consulting holds the values of gender equality and diversity as part of the fabric of our organisation.

The following are extracts from an article previously published in The Telegraph “The business benefits of promoting diversity and inclusion”, which even though published in 2017, still illustrates the importance of taking diversity and inclusion (D&I) seriously and the benefits it has to help transform businesses from the inside out.  

Katharine Earley, Sustainability writer for the Telegraph, Guardian and other publications puts it; “Firms that offer an inclusive environment for a diverse mix for employees stand to innovate, grow and outperform the competition.”

Businesses with a healthy balance of men and women are 15pc more likely to outperform their competitors, while those with employees from a good mix of ethnic backgrounds are 35pc more likely, claims research.

Combine inherent diversity – such as gender, race or age – with acquired knowledge, such as cultural understanding or language skills, and the stakes are even higher.

Increasingly, progressive businesses are embracing diversity and inclusion as a means of forging a sustainable future. Tech giant Cisco attributes its ongoing technological innovation to its diverse leadership team, while diversifying client teams has helped management consultancy firms to strengthen the quality of their client services.

Driving Innovation

When employees feel involved, respected and connected, employers can tap into a greater richness of ideas and problem-solving approaches. This also helps companies to respond effectively to customers, attract and retain high performing employees, empower teams to collaborate, raise productivity, future-proof their businesses, and, ultimately, deliver sustainable growth.

“The business case for diversity is simple,” explains Laura Hinton, head of people at a leading professional services provider. “If we want to deliver value for our clients, we need diverse talent, views and thinking that reflects the society in which we work.”

Navigating Diversity and Inclusion

So how can companies unlock the benefits of promoting diversity and inclusion? Getting under the skin of the company to understand its strengths and weaknesses is vital to establishing what Ms Qureshi, Chief Executive of the Global Diversity Practice, calls a diversity “baseline”.

The chief executive further recommends gathering hard data on demographics and representation, seeking employees’ views through surveys and focus groups, and benchmarking diversity performance against peers.

 “Leaders should be accountable for delivering on a company’s diversity goals and targets”

Ms Hinton emphasises the importance of uncovering and addressing barriers (policies, processes, values and so on) that prevent people from fulfilling their potential. Ms Qureshi and Ms Hinton both agree that fostering a diverse, inclusive culture requires a shift in mindset,
with senior leaders acting as role models. 

#BalanceforBetter #IWD2019