Diversity and inclusion: 4 powerful stats HR leaders should know

John McNamara
Published on 2nd July 2020
3 min read

As Black Lives Matter protests rise up across the world, we are once again afforded an opportunity to think about the importance of diversity in our workplaces.

And as we do, a staggering truth dawns on us – that even in the year 2020, many companies are still failing to factor diversity and inclusion into their talent strategy.

Slow progress around the world

In 2018, Grant Thornton’s diversity snapshot revealed that, shockingly, just two out of five businesses worldwide believe diversity is important to their success.  

A report by Druthers Search also highlighted stats that showed the poor state of diversity and inclusion worldwide, including:

  • In the USA, there are more CEOs called John or David than there are female CEOs
  • Only 2.6% of people on UK tech boards are ethnic minorities
  • 22% of LBGTQ Americans have not been paid or promoted at the same rate as their peers

The time has surely come for radical change. COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement have created the perfect opportunity for organizations to dramatically reconsider their D&I programs.

With that in mind, here are four vital stats for HR and People leaders to know. We hope they’ll come in useful when it comes to making the business case for pushing inclusion to the forefront in your business.

1. Racially diverse teams outperform less diverse competitors by 35%

Companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are a whopping 35% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians, according to a McKinsey report titled ‘Diversity matters’.

Furthermore, teams with a diverse gender profile are also 15% more likely to outperform the median. The combined result of improving both racial and gender diversity is a 25% net increase in performance.

This data makes sense when you consider the power a diverse profile of ideas can have within a company. People from comparable backgrounds may be more likely to put forward similar opinions and concepts, while diverse teams have the potential to explore a wider range of differing and innovative perspectives.

2. GDP in the USA would increase $25 billion if just 1% more disabled people were hired

While it’s unfortunately true that people with disabilities have a harder time finding and retaining employment, its employers who are missing out according to research by Accenture.

They highlighted that companies who strive to include more disabled members of staff in their roster outperform competitors in multiple areas, from income to profitability and value creation. Simply put: if you hired more people with disabilities into your company, you would make more money.

The importance of including special policies and procedures for disabled people in your company becomes even more important when you consider a study from the UK government in early 2020, which found there’s a high likelihood some of your employees will experience a new disability while working for your company.

By adapting everything from your physical workspace to your company culture to meet the needs of disabled people, you can go much further to attract and retain this valuable contingent of the workforce.

3. Diversity of thinking enhances innovation by 20%

That’s according to research from Deloitte, who also found that diverse workforces are 30% more likely to spot mistakes.

Having interviewed 50 global organizations for their report, Deloitte called attention to one particular example in Qantas. Between 2013 and 2017, the Australian airline went from their greatest ever loss to their greatest ever profit, won the ‘World’s safest airline’ award and ranked as Australia’s most trusted big business.

How did they achieve this turn-around? According to CEO Alan Joyce, it had everything to do with the company’s “very diverse environment and very inclusive culture,” which, he claimed, “got us through the tough times… diversity generated better strategy, better risk management, better debates [and] better outcomes.”

4. Almost half (47%) of millennials consider diversity and inclusion to be an important factor in their job search

Millennials place a significant amount of importance on working for companies that put diversity and inclusion at the heart of their company culture, according to a 2016 survey by Weber Shandwick and KRC Research.

If your company is unable to demonstrate a commitment towards creating an open and inclusive culture for all backgrounds, you may find it harder to attract and retain top millennial talent. This could have a substantial impact on profitability, as companies stand to miss out on the skills this generation brings to the workplace.

Building the business case for diversity and inclusion

There’s really no excuse for not putting diversity and inclusion in your talent strategy.

The statistics in this article are merely a snapshot of the incredible benefits your organization could stand to gain by actively encouraging applications from diverse candidates, writing policies to improve the welfare of minority members of staff, and adapting your company culture to make everyone feel welcome and included.

The time for meaningless comments, gestures and excuses is over. You only need to look out the window to see the incredible progress being made. It’s up to you as a HR and People leader to make sure your company keeps up with this rapidly-changing world.

If you can, you’ll quickly start to see the benefits. So, what are you waiting for?

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