Diversity is key to business success: Leaders need to make a bigger pledge to drive impact

Diversity_Propulo

From Eric Michrowski

The research is very clear on the value of diversity in the workplace. And when leaders think of diversity, it shouldn’t be limited to only 1 or 2 dimensions. The goal should be to bring as many perspectives and viewpoints to the table. In addition to being fair and a good corporate citizen, the purpose of diversity is to stimulate better debate when decisions are being made. When the right culture is in place, this helps improve the quality of solutions. In turn, this drives improved business performance.
With tomorrow’s challenges and organizations becoming more global and diverse, those that have embraced diversity will outperform . I’ve already seen our firm drive better solutions by embracing diversity.

Let’s take the generational shift that is happening in business. Approaches designed over a decade ago are becoming stale and miss the many opportunities presented by this shift.

Yet, at the same time, when I look at our peers, I too often see the opposite of diversity. In recent news, one of our peers was caught having implemented a “diversity” program that was intended to make women act more like men. Or I often come across firms that implement diversity programs but that aren't very diverse. And is an organization that only hires middle aged Caucasian women truly the model for diversity?

At Propulo, we aren’t perfect. We have room to grow, every organization has. But I’m exceptionally proud to share a significant milestone that we achieved earlier this year: 75% of our workforce and 50% of our senior roles have diverse backgrounds. We’ve come a long way. Before I joined our firm, diversity was only looked at in terms of gender. Today, diversity is about creating an organization that matches our diverse society and the markets that we serve, as best as we can. We believe that this leads to better solutions and outcomes by bringing many perspectives to the table.

We didn’t get there by having quotas. We got there by seeking the best talent, wherever they were, while embracing diversity and welcoming unique backgrounds. We took being an equal opportunity employer to heart.

What I don’t understand is when leaders say that they can’t find quality diverse talent in their selection process. We hire from the same talent pool but our selection process doesn’t have unintended consequences.

While I am a Caucasian man, I was brought up from a young age recognizing the importance of multiculturalism and diversity. I was born in a multi-cultural family; am the son of a refugee that lived on 3 continents and across many cultures - in some instances being the very unwelcome minority. He sought to understand diverse cultures and was an early champion of diversity and multiculturalism when the topic was rarely discussed. I’m proud of that and it has forever shaped my thinking and desire to create more diverse workplaces.

The future of work needs solutions that embrace diversity. As leaders, it’s our responsibility to foster an environment that encourages this - not in just 1 or 2 dimensions or in token roles. Not just because it’s the right thing to do but because it also is better for business success.

As buyers, we should be buying from firms that are committed to diversity. Not only because it’s the right thing to do but because it will deliver better outcomes.

As a leader, I made a pledge to run a business that relied on diverse perspectives. Our strength comes from our combined team.

I ask you to join me in doing so in your businesses.