In a Harvard Business Review article, researchers found that companies with high-levels of diversity are 45% more likely to report market share growth over the past year and 70% more likely to report that the firm captured a new market. Why does this happen? There are lots of reasons, but the post goes on to say that without diverse leadership, minorities and other groups are less likely to win endorsement for new ideas and that there are six behaviors that unlock innovation across the board (many of which have to do with having an open and nurturing work environment). Some of those behaviors include allowing all voices to feel heard, welcoming novel or even strange ideas, flattening some decision making authority and more.
Numerous researchers and consultants have made similar recommendations and now some of the biggest organizations believe in the business case for diversity. But how do you go about honoring a commitment to diversity? There are lots of articles that treat this subject, but here are a few tips to get started:
Retain Employees. It costs more money to find a new employee than it does to keep the ones that you have. Find ways to serve and promote your already diverse workforce. Ask them questions, take their advice, and give them ways to shine.
Make someone responsible for diversity. Assigning responsibility to a task makes it much harder to overlook. This person can conduct the research to help diversify where you look for talent, what sorts of skills and characteristics matter most to building the diverse workforce, and developing programs that attract and retain a variety of employees.
Set Goals. Like anything, if you start to measure progress, you’re more likely to make progress. This usually means defining a way of measuring diversity and setting a timeline for moving the needle. A lot of organizations use surveys to gauge the success of these programs, some even try to model their workforce on the make-up of the population (for example: driving towards a 50% female workforce).
By Rob Hoehn
Rob Hoehn is the co-founder and CEO of IdeaScale: the largest open innovation software platform in the world. Hoehn launched crowdsourcing software as part of the open government initiative and IdeaScale’s robust portfolio now includes many other industry notables, such as EA Sports, NBC, NASA, Xerox and many others. Prior to IdeaScale, Hoehn was Vice President of Client Services at Survey Analytics.