The benefits of diversity have been well published both in Europe and in the US. Leading-edge global companies know that having a diverse employee base and valuing diversity can greatly benefit the firm. For example, articles and studies have discovered that diverse teams exhibit a higher level of creativity and a broader thought process in solving complex problems, additionally:
- Diverse perspectives lead to innovation
- When properly managed and trained diverse work teams produced results six-times higher than homogenous teams
- Companies that embrace diversity enhance customer loyalty and problem-solving
- Greater diversity leads to financial growth
- Access to new markets and financial growth
Moreover, a frequently cited US research study by Catalyst6 suggested those Fortune 500 companies with the highest representation of women on their board of directors experienced better financial performance on average (in terms of return on sales, return on invested capital and return on equity) than those with the lowest representation of women. Researchers have also found that diverse work teams properly managed and trained produced results that are six-times higher than homogenous teams. Analyzing a statistically significant sample of companies across Europe, Brazil, Russia, India and China, the 2010 Deloitte report showed that “companies with the highest share of women in their senior management teams outperformed those with no women from 2007-2009 by 41% in terms of return on equity (22% vs. 15%) and by 56% in terms of operating results (17% vs. 11%).” I
DiversityInc recently published a list of Top 50 Companies for diversity. There are some commonalities: strong CEO support, resource groups, diversity metrics, and mentoring, multicultural philanthropy, community outreach, D&I as a business driver, training, and supplier diversity.It is worth noting some examples of specifically exceptional practices. I believe the 5 diverse employer brands you can learn the most from are Microsoft, Monsanto, Pfizer, Kaiser Permanente, and Marriot.
For example, led by Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s executive staff is committed to ensuring that diversity and inclusion are a part of everyday business, from acquiring and retaining great talent to serving customers and developing innovative products. They see diversity and inclusion as a long-term business strategy that will help enable the future success of the company.
At Monsanto (formerly owned by Pfizer), where I worked for many years in Global Staffing and diversity Training & Branding, the executive staff (including Hugh Grant, Chm, President and CEO) went through diversity training as did employees (who were trained by fellow employees like myself serving as diversity Trainers). I witnessed firsthand Mr. Grant’s commitment to D&I and his concern for advancing the business case for diversity.
And at Pfizer, a core tenet belief is that having an organization of people with diverse backgrounds (educational, geographic, ethnic, et. al.) and experiences (professional, social, developmental, et. al.) increase the potential for Pfizer to successfully address large and everyday business challenges by leveraging the different perspectives that result from the diversity; Pfizer also believes that Supplier diversity is a strategic business process.
At, Kaiser Permanente, the labor force reflects no racial majority, with nearly 60 percent of the staff comprising people of color and a framework for diversity has been put in place by the Board of Directors which mandated National Diversity Agenda.
And at Marriott, Regional diversity and Inclusion Councils ensure that a diversity strategy is implemented in local markets with strategic partnerships, targeted recruitment campaigns, diversity communications, other outreach to associates and strong supplier diversity efforts.
In closing, with the global workplace and customer markets becoming more diverse every day, business need to create a leading-edge hiring culture that embraces diversity as a business imperative and a strategic part of their on-going operations.
Johnny Torrance-Nesbitt, MBA is an award-winning Global HR professional across several industries and with outstanding successes in Global University Relations, Employment Branding and Global Talent Acquisition, and Diversity Strategies most notably at several leading global Fortune 500 businesses such as Monsanto, Lockheed Martin, and the dot.com start-up, Unext/Cardean University in Chicago and London, England. Photo Credit Sirinomics