Diversity and Inclusion Investment Pays Dividends

multi cultural group of workers in office

by Patrick Gallen, Partner, People & Change Consulting at Grant Thornton Ireland

Over the last year there has been a notable push in a range of organisations to put Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) at the forefront of the cultural agendas. Momentum has been building over the past decade, proving that D&I is become more than just a workplace fad, and for many companies it has become the foundation from which their organisations are built.

Take Apple for example; their current CEO Tim Cook became the first chief executive of a Fortune 500 company to publicly come out as gay. Apple was already doing exceptionally well when Tim became CEO in 2011. Steve Jobs passed the baton to Tim to steer Apple into the next course of its journey without him. And Apple has since gone from strength to strength, share prices well exceeding that of Steve Jobs leadership.

So, what is the secret ingredient to Apples success according to the CEO? Tim Cook puts it down to a very diverse and inclusive workforce, being an organisation that genuinely celebrates diversity, encourages inclusivity and allows people to express themselves creatively.

Apple’s success due to a diverse and inclusive workforce is not an exception, in fact a recent study conducted by McKinsey shows that:

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The evidence is compelling – when companies commit themselves to a diverse workforce, they are more successful. Diverse companies are not only reaping the rewards in terms of profit and productivity, but also more attractive to top talent. D&I also improves their customer orientation, employee satisfaction, and decision making, and all of this leads to a virtuous cycle of increasing returns.

Organisations must do more to take full advantage of the opportunity that diverse workforces represent. In order for the organisations to stay relevant, retain staff, attract top talent and bring forward the next generation of successful leaders, they must diversify their teams and become more inclusive.

A great quote from Verna Myers really highlights the importance of combining both diversity and inclusion, they both work in cohesion with one another to bring success, she says; ‘Diversity is being asked to the party, inclusion is then being asked to dance.’

It’s important now more than ever that the workplace is somewhere where people feel safe, and not afraid to be themselves. Now is the time for all organisations to assess where they are in terms of D&I, and if they don’t already have one, create a Diversity and Inclusion policy. And given the higher returns that D&I brings, we believe it is a smart investment that will pay dividends. https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/people-and-organizational-performance/our-insights/why-diversity-matters

About the author

Patrick is the Partner leading Grant Thornton’s People and Change Consulting practice in Ireland. He has over 30 years of experience in People and Change, working right across Ireland, the UK and on a global basis. He specialises in delivering behavioural change through capability building, which can range from working on complex transformation projects right through to coaching senior Board members on a one-to-one basis. Patrick has deep cross-sectoral experience and his clients include large global banking and financial institutions, utility companies  and well-known global brands in the food and drinks sector. His clients in the public and semi-state sector include Government Departments in the UK and Ireland, including Treasury and Finance Departments, Transport, Health and Utilities.