International Women’s Day is coming up, and with it come important calls for gender equality in the workplace. Among the many excellent articles surrounding this annual event, this year I wanted to highlight some reports and studies showing that diversity in the workplace is about even more than being “fair” or “right.” It’s about being more successful.
Consider these studies that show the benefits of diversity in the workplace:
- You might be more profitable: A study from Peterson Institute for International Economics and EY found that having women in leadership positions was associated with higher profitability — having at least 30% of women in leadership positions, or the “C-suite,” added 6% to net profit margin.
- You can attract better talent: Almost half of job seekers said diversity and inclusion was an important factor when considering a new job.
- You will make better decisions: A study found that diverse groups problem solve more creatively, cutting the error rate that comes when groups only consider a problem from one perspective.
And here are several new articles that talk about the benefits of diversity in all its many forms.
Diversity Begets Diversity
“The higher the share of women on corporate boards one year, the more likely the company was to hire women executives in the following year, the study’s authors … discovered. This may be because women know each other through professional networks, and when there are women at the top—say on a corporate board—they help refer women to positions that otherwise might have been filled by men, Matsa told me. The increase also could have been because women discriminate less against each other, and hire them for executive positions, he said.” — Read more at The Atlantic.
Diversity Promotes Creativity and Economic Benefits
“’The benefits of diversity are really about the different experiences that individuals bring to a problem,’ the authors [of a Columbia Business School study] say. ‘Demographically diverse groups make better decisions and produce more innovations, because they bring in different perspectives.’ The study suggests that diverse teams change how individuals think within that team, rendering them more effective decision makers at a group level, with a boost in their economic output. It does this because diversity of thought makes us both more creative and more able to engage in complex thinking.” — Read more at Forbes.
Employers Aren’t Communicating Enough About Diversity
“Given the importance of D&I [Diversity and Inclusion] at work to millennials in particular, employers should consider better communications of their D&I activities to their employees. Fewer than half of all employees (44 percent) agree that their employer does a good job communicating its D&I goals, programs and initiatives, with a scant 12 percent strongly agreeing.” — Read more at Business Facilities.
It Starts with The Interview Process
“Of particular interest are the factors that play out during the actual hiring process, including sourcing and interviewing potential candidates. Did you know that if you only have one female candidate in your pool of potential applicants, there’s statistically no chance that she’ll be hired? No chance. So simply including a woman in your first round will likely have no impact once your end decision has been made. Additionally, it’s known that there are both conscious and unconscious biases that affect people’s hiring decisions. When provided with candidate names on applicant resume — a universal practice — employers will hire Johns over Jennifers to technical roles without realizing they’re doing it. This creates a strong business argument for hiring managers to consciously and directly address how to accomplish hiring for a more diverse workforce.” — Read more at Women 2.0.
How has working with a diverse team improved your perspective or decision-making? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments below.
Lindsey Pollak is the leading voice on millennials in the workplace, trusted by global companies, universities, the world’s top media outlets — and, most importantly, by millennials themselves. A New York Times bestselling author, Lindsey began her career as a dorm RA in college and has been mentoring millennials — and explaining them to other generations — ever since. Her keynote speeches have audiences so engaged that, in the words of one attendee, “I didn’t check my phone once!” Contact Lindsey to discuss a speaking engagement for your organization.