Intuitively we know that diversity, equity and inclusion https://www.benefitspro.com/sites/benefitspro/2021/08/30/are-you-considering-diversity-equity-and-inclusion-in -your-employee- benefit-program / (DCI) is important to human progress. Of course, this is essential because of the inherent need for more equality, fairness and representation. But diversity is not just a social good, it’s a must for companies that want to stay competitive.
The term DE&I often conjures up images of a workplace made up of people of different colors, sexual orientations, cultures and genders. While these things certainly explain a component of diversity, it is only part of what diversity includes and what makes it so important. The physical and social aspects represent only about half of the diversity. The rest lies in the diversity of the construction of thought.
Related: Over Half of Employers Say DEI is a High Priority: Survey
To stay competitive and relevant, large organizations must constantly self-examine, improve, grow and evolve. They must challenge the status quo. A good business requires all-round scrutiny to uncover new approaches and uncover new opportunities. Different perspectives lead to better innovation and create more relevant and creative products, and a more interesting world.
Numerous studies have shown a clear correlation between companies with diverse teams and business success. It’s pretty simple: various companies are more likely to outperform their peers financially. The McKinsey Report, “Diversity wins”, Is an excellent source for this reasoning, and demonstrates that the business case for gender and ethnic diversity in top-level teams is stronger than ever. For five years, their research has shown a positive and statistically significant correlation between the financial outperformance of the company and diversity, on the dimensions of gender and ethnicity.
Executives who intend to infuse ED&I and build a workforce with diverse backgrounds and ideas will see a huge return on investment. Their businesses will undoubtedly experience real growth and innovation, which will eventually lead to increased revenues.
By this logic and understanding, the lack of diversity in thought is to the detriment of progress, profit and growth. And in male-dominated industries, like technology, where innovation and iteration are rife, the value of DE&I is explicit. I can’t think of an industry where a one-sided perspective is more detrimental than in technology, where the end users of our products, platforms and services are truly global. Creating a business that reflects the incredible diversity of consumers, suppliers and communities is truly essential.
Of course, knowing the value of DE&I is one thing. In fact, doing something about it is a whole other step. Talking about diversity can be difficult, and implementing organization-wide changes to create a more diverse workforce can seem overwhelming. The journey to a more diverse and inclusive workplace can be difficult and, at times, exhausting. In a male-dominated industry that has long embraced certain ways of thinking, change will not happen without hindsight. But just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Changing culture is a long-term process. It takes a lot of effort and commitment from every leader in the organization. But the benefits of driving into a more diverse future in the male-dominated tech industry far outweigh the challenges we’ll face along the way.
In any industry, the best thing people can do to drive DE&I is to empathize. Once you prioritize listening and seek a deeper understanding from people with different backgrounds, you will understand how to design an organization that supports diverse individuals.
Only when a workplace is designed to support a diverse workforce will it attract one. And, as we know, a more equitable future – a future where there is a level playing field for people of all races, colors, sexual orientations, genders, and abilities – is more profitable.
Markita Jack is responsible for diversity, equity and inclusion at Iterable.