Does Diversity Really Matter? 0

Does-Diversity-Really-Matter-

“Diversity enables better decision-making and this is not because minorities and women are superior thinkers. It’s just because people from different backgrounds bring something fundamentally different to the decision-making process. You can train skills but you can’t teach life experience.”

– Eric Thomas

Let’s be clear, diversity should not be about hitting quotas and giving back. Trust me when I tell you this, hiring black people, women, LGBTQ people, young folks, and yes, older folks are not doing any of these groups a solid. Remove the idea that you’re wasting resources just to appease the powers are following a “political correctness” trend. Because hiring for identity more will make your organization considerably stronger. Why?

“A diverse organization will out-think and out-perform a homogeneous organization every single time”.

– AG. Lafley, Former CEO, Procter & Gamble

With Proctor and Gamble’s 76.27 billion dollars in revenue and a market cap worth 224.4 billion, this isn’t some pie in the sky hippy thinking. Diversity is actually good for your business. P&G isn’t the only group that thinks this. McKinsey & Company released a report that shows that companies that over-index in Gender Diversity perform 15% better than their industry averages. Even more interesting, when more ethnic diversity is represented those companies actually perform 35% better. It’s important to point out that correlation and causation are different, but there are theories around what makes these figures true.

“Diversity enables better decision-making and diminishes groupthink.”

Cathy Morris, Arrow Electronics

This is not because minorities and women are superior thinkers. It’s just because people from different backgrounds bring something fundamentally different to the decision-making process. You can train skills but you can’t teach life experience. It seems to me that companies would rather spend thousands on Cultural Sensitivity training than actually hiring people from those cultures to bring those perspectives into the workplace. Disrupting groupthink can shake up assumptions and offer insight into problems that sometimes seem difficult to comprehend. One of the best ways to shine a light on uncommon solutions is a variety of perspectives. This is where it’s important to remember that diversity has depth and width. This includes ethnicity, gender, lifestyle, and even age.

“Diversity, while laudable, isn’t likely to gain much traction in the corporate world as long as it’s viewed as an expense. At companies like American Express, it will succeed because of its ability to drive relationships with employees, customers, merchants and ultimately revenue.”

Companies that prioritize their internal diversity reap major rewards when it comes to the external diversity of their consumer base. And what about internal company culture? We’ve spent years cultivating and hiring according to who fits in. Well, it’s time to evolve. The entire landscape of workplace culture has shifted to accommodate the growing needs of millennials. Everything from career advancement to interior design has been affected be the millennials need to impact the world on how they get work done. I think the same care needs to be taken when considering hiring for identity because unfortunately many people feel as if they can’t take their whole selves to work. Hiring one hundred multi-coloured copies of the leader defeats the purpose. Organizations will never benefit from the beauty and depth of other cultures and the advantages they bring if they suppress them to protect the comfort of the traditional workplace.

“It’s better to make mistakes on the way to becoming better than fail to try to avoid reality.”

Creating a place for diversity in your organization is all about intentionality. Making mistakes comes with the territory, but that’s a part of the exercise. It’s better to make mistakes on the way to becoming better than fail to try to avoid reality. When you look at strategies being made to facilitate conversation and increase the interconnectivity between team members at innovation conferences, I know that there’s hope for the future of cultures. But this is about going further and confronting missteps and creating spaces and opportunities to bridge those gaps. 

“Hiring one hundred multi-coloured copies of yourself defeats the purpose. You will never benefit from the beauty and depth of other cultures and the advantages they bring if you suppress them to protect the comfort of the traditional workplace.”

We can’t solve uncommon problems with the same thinking that we’ve used in the past. And we shouldn’t have organizations that aren’t representative of the market they serve. It’s time we stop looking at diversity as some task to fulfil a checkbox and realize that a diverse array of experiences make us all better. So do yourself a favour and hire the experiences you don’t have, you’ll be amazed at how it changes your business.

“We can’t solve uncommon problems with the same thinking that we’ve used in the past. And we shouldn’t have organizations that aren’t representative of the market they serve.”

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Eric Thomas is a Brand Strategist and Senior Partner at Detroit-based Saga. During his nearly decade-long career, he has worked with hundreds of businesses and organizations to help them develop their brands and find their voice through Brand Storytelling. The growth of Saga has turned a new page in his entrepreneurial success. The entrepreneur has added a new chapter to his brand, serving as a storytelling expert, speaking at nationally recognized conferences including IDSA Design Conference and TEDx Detroit as well as a host of Detroit events and workshops. His knowledge has also landed him as an inductee with Crain's Detroit Business "Twenty in their 20s.” (2016), Michigan Chronicle's 40 in their 40s(2017) and along with The Spirit of Detroit award (2017).

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