Take a look around your company. How diverse is your organization? Is there a mix of cultures and backgrounds among the people you’ve employed? If you want better fiscal results, a broader talent pool, happier employees and decisions that consider the many and not the few, diversity should be high on your agenda.
By Charles Brewer, CEO DHL eCommerce.
Did you know:
- Many countries are experiencing record low unemployment levels and businesses are competing fiercely for new talent.*
- Millennials want to work for organizations where diversity is actively promoted and seek out employers with a strong record on equality and diversity*.
- Statistics prove that companies that actively promote a multi-cultural and diverse organization deliver better fiscal results.*
Deutsche Post DHL Group, with operations in more than 220 countries and territories, has an unbelievably diverse workforce and I have always been an incredibly passionate believer that diversity is vital to the success of our business.
A recent study from McKinsey titled “Diversity Matters,” shows that companies with greater levels of gender, racial and ethnic diversity tend to be more successful than their more homogenous competitors. The study found that “companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.”
The reason gender, racial and ethnic diversity are all good for business is that it does wonders for creativity, innovation and company morale.
Diversity, it seems sits very nicely within our goal of ‘Doing Well and Doing Good’! But it’s more than that for me. The reason gender, racial and ethnic diversity are all good for business is that it does wonders for creativity, innovation and company morale. When you diversify your workforce, you radically increase the number of ideas, opinions, outlooks and experiences available within your organisation. When implemented properly, diversity shatters the cosy groupthink that can blind more homogenous companies to the realities of their internal dynamics and markets.
Diversity fosters innovation
Diversity, therefore, isn’t just corporate talk or a nice-to-have that can be left to the HR department. It’s a mindset that is critical to any company’s ability to innovate and adapt to changing conditions.
I personally understand that developing and executing a diversity mindset isn’t easy. It requires all of us to challenge the status quo and actively encourage people to share their thoughts and ideas, regardless of whether they clash with prevailing company thought or not. After all, there is little benefit in diversity if people sense the need to filter their opinions.
By empowering a diverse workforce, leaders encourage a culture of exchange and sharing that benefits everyone.
To do this, leaders need to create an organisational atmosphere that encourages employees to share ideas and opinions – an atmosphere in which people feel free to say what they think, without inhibition, fear of judgement or recourse.
Inclusion and empowerment
For leaders, inclusion and empowerment are the watchwords to ensuring an environment conducive for diverse thought. By empowering a diverse workforce, leaders encourage a culture of exchange and sharing that benefits everyone. An engaged workforce is a powerful workforce!
To help nurture this atmosphere, I recently read about the three “Rs” of inclusive leadership. These were recently laid out Denise Pirrotti Hummel, Chief Innovation Officer of Lead Inclusively, Inc. in DHL’s Delivered magazine. They are:
- Receptive: It’s not enough to think you’re receptive. Seek out opinions and viewpoints on a regular basis.
- Revitalising: Listen for the silence. Are the quieter voices in the team getting heard? Find ways to elicit their opinions.
- Reflective: Keep decision-making honest and transparent. Explain decisions to the team – don’t let a lack of transparency lead to the suspicion that some people’s ideas are preferred over others.
Diversity – both the workplace makeup and the mindset – can have a dramatic and hugely positive impact on the success of the company. But this is more than a memo to the hiring department to ‘diversify the workforce.’ True diversity means inclusion and empowerment, and it starts with leaders willing to embrace it.
How is your company promoting diversity in the workplace? I’m keen to learn more from best practices – feel free to share your thoughts with me on LinkedIn or Twitter at @BrewerDHL.
*Source: McKinsey 2015, Diversity Matters; PWC, Millennials at work
Follow DHL eCommerce on LinkedIn and never miss another update.