The Impact of Diversity on Leadership Teams

Diversity and inclusion in the workplace are no longer HR buzz words to appease the regulatory and compliance bodies. It is insufficient to simply have a policy and/or company-wide training in order to claim you are a diverse and inclusive workplace. Organizations should begin, if they haven’t already, committing themselves to creating a diverse and inclusive work environment. While the foundation of building this type of culture within an organization may use policies and training as the starting point, a holistic program must be firmly woven throughout all levels of leadership.

In the many articles researched for HealthTechS3’s upcoming webinar on diversity and recruiting, held April 24th at 12 pm CT, there was a major theme relevant amongst companies boasting the benefits for establishing and maintaining diversity and inclusion initiatives, especially from the top down. A recent study conducted by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) discovered that increasing the diversity of the leadership teams leads to “more and better innovation and improved financial performance.” After BCG surveyed more than 1,700 companies in eight different countries of various sizes and industries, they found that 75% of respondents said that “diversity is gaining momentum in their organizations” and there could be found a “strong and statistically significant correlation between the diversity of management teams and overall innovation.” Furthermore, these same companies who reported above-average diversity numbers within their leadership teams claim their innovation revenue was 19 percentage points higher than those companies identifying as below-average diversity – a difference of 45% total revenue versus 29%. This innovation revenue was from products and services launched in the past three years.

According to McKinsey & Company, companies with diverse boards enjoy higher earnings and return on equity. Another study of 500 organizations found that for every 1% increase in gender and racial diversity correlated to a 3% to 9% increase in sales revenue. These are a small sample of reports from various surveys and data that tied improvement in diversity and inclusion directly to the bottom line.

In addition to revenue, many other studies show that diversity improves workplace morale and problem-solving as well as recruitment and retention. Employees and customers want to see more workers who look like them or who are willing to understand someone who may be different from them. Employees with diverse backgrounds and experiences want to see there is a career path for them within an organization that is diversely represented among its leaders. Project team participants want to be encouraged by leaders to share their diverse ideas, opinions and solutions. Potential employees want to see the impact of a diverse and inclusive workplace culture through an organization’s social media imprint. Lastly, employees want to feel they belong to an organization that values what they have to offer, not what they look like or where they came from.

On its website, the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) states its mission as “advancing leaders and the field of healthcare management excellence through its commitment to integrity, lifelong learning, leadership and diversity and inclusion.” Through its mission, ACHE highlights diversity and inclusion as both “a core value and strategic initiative” and “works to foster an inclusive environment that recognizes the contributions and supports the advancement of all, regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, religion, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.”

After a tumultuous year in 2017, Uber hired Bernard C. Coleman, III as the Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion and spotlights Diversity at Uber on its website. Uber even published their U.S. 2017 EEO-1 report and London Gender Pay Gap Report 2018. These publicized reports acknowledge the importance being transparent in their pursuit of maintaining diversity and inclusion within the framework of their organization.

By demonstrating a commitment to diversity and inclusion at all levels of an organization, starting at the top, your company may discover new and exciting opportunities to create resiliency and adaptiveness in an ever-changing, diverse, and inclusive society.

“We have become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams.”

  • Jimmy Carter