Why is it essential to have diverse and inclusive executives leading a company?

The advantages an organization gains from hiring diverse employees and creating an inclusive company culture are clear. Employing people with different backgrounds, training, and ideas naturally gives rise to innovation and success. When diversity and inclusion are part of the company leadership and permeates every management level, the benefits abound. Read on to learn more about how establishing a diverse and inclusive executive team benefits corporations.

Priya Jindal

Priya Jindal

Priya Jindal, Founder of Nextpat, Ltd. Nextpat helps organizations seeking a cultural shift to become more diverse, equitable, and inclusive, by consulting to develop equitable talent pipelines and coaching to develop cultures of belonging.

Diversity and inclusion bring their own strengths to an organization.

I work on building better retention pipelines for organizations focused on developing cultures of inclusion through behavior changes at all levels. These [changes] acknowledge our biases and that we have control over our behaviors and thought patterns and can allow us to do better. I do this through equity analysis of policies and recommendations for more equitable policies and methods, training, and emphasize coaching. Behavioral norms create a culture outside of the framework of policies.

A diverse executive leadership team brings an important perspective to leadership, as well as an unspoken confirmation of workplace culture, which can be critical to attracting and retaining employees. Diverse executives bring innovative ideas and insight into diverse communities that might serve as partners or clients of the organization, which can help the organization’s bottom line. In addition, demographically diverse executives can tap into a diverse array of networks to recruit new talent. They help develop a culture that celebrates diverse ideas, that is mindful about microaggressions and unconscious bias, and can help champion underrepresented communities. Diverse executives also offer an example of possibilities within the organization, helping more diverse employees feel that there is a path to reach their goals.

An inclusive executive team is perhaps even more critical. Inclusion allows executives to bring in diverse perspectives, listen to them carefully, and focus on the content to ensure that they capture new ideas and can innovate. Inclusion also means bringing alternative ideas by tapping into their organization’s diversity. These [diverse] perspectives can inform executives of [employee] perception [of culture] more broadly, which helps to develop an inclusive culture. An inclusive culture respects that people have different ideas and needs and creates spaces to acknowledge these needs and address them without shaming or excluding [anyone]. It requires discipline in behavior to ensure that we think carefully about what we say and who we engage with. While it can feel exhausting, [these actions] pay huge dividends, attracting diverse ideas that help a company thrive with a culture that increases retention of employees and partners who wish to engage with a company that is humble.

Outperform their competitors and make more profit

Encouraging diversity and inclusion are essential goals to pursue and have become a competitive advantage. Companies with a more diverse workforce outperform their competitors and make more profit. Here are some of the advantages of a diverse and all-inclusive organization:

Employees who are happier are more efficient and committed. When you foster an inclusive community, you also foster a healthier, more comfortable work climate. Employees feel appreciated and supported, which encourages them to collaborate and be more creative.

Organizational diversity means results in innovation. People from various backgrounds have a variety of experiences and, as a result, diverse viewpoints. Exposure to a wide range of viewpoints and experiences boosts imagination. When you bring people together who see the same thing in different ways, you’re more likely to get a melting pot of exciting, innovative ideas, which will improve the workforce’s imagination.

Sonya Schwartz

Sonya Schwartz

Sonya Schwartz, Founder of Her Norm.

Rolf Bax

Rolf Bax

Rolf Bax, Chief Human Resources Officer at Resume.io, a popular resume-builder and career prep resource for workers and jobseekers.

Exhibit better problem-solving skills

Diverse teams have been shown to exhibit better problem-solving skills, more agile responses to industry change and upheaval, and more empathetic and human-centered business practices thanks to the diversity of approaches and worldviews.

Additionally, having a diverse and inclusive executive team often means people from a wide range of linguistic and cultural backgrounds, which naturally implies international networks and global outlooks, which are both prerequisites for sustained success in a constantly globalizing world with global opportunities.

The more hands we have on deck, the better.

The contributions from diverse [people] are what have led to where we are today. Although many of the accomplishments by marginalized populations have received little recognition, their impact is still experienced by the world. With diversity comes an array of beliefs, values, perspectives, approaches, insights, and specific skill sets. In a society where the standard is to continue moving forward, it is imperative that individuals continue to “think outside the box.” Creativity and ingenuity are what keep us moving forward. The more hands we have on deck, the better. When we refuse to acknowledge what is shared by diverse [individuals], we can run the risk of remaining stagnant.

Having diverse and inclusive executives in a company helps keep companies, and society at large, moving forward. Beyond the contributions made by such individuals at this level, it also serves as an inspiration to other diverse individuals that they can be successful and make a substantial difference. It solicits more interest in the company, improves morale, and serves to stand up against our nation’s continued battle with institutionalized racism. As explained by Mikhail Gorbachev, “If you don’t move forward, sooner or later, you begin to move backward.”

Matt Glowiak, PhD, LCPC

Matt Glowiak, PhD, LCPC

Matthew Glowiak is counselor, professor, and prolific writer. He started his counseling career in 2013 working with patients dealing with alcohol and substance abuse. Find him at Dr.Matt Glowiak.

Anjela Mangrum

Anjela Mangrum

Anjela Mangrum, Founder of MCS. She is passionately dedicated to matching desirable machining and manufacturing companies with in-demand talent.

Here are some advantages of having a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture:

Greater retention rates

When you include your employees in the decision-making process and value their input without discrimination, they tend to stick around for longer. It’s natural to move on from a workplace where you feel underappreciated.

More innovation

Businesses today thrive on originality and creative ideas. The likelihood for original ideas and newer concepts increases when you employ people from diverse backgrounds. Each [individual] will have something new to bring to the table. When your target market is diverse, you’ll need to diversify your workforce to ensure you’re creating and marketing products or services in a way that appeals to all and offends none.

A larger talent pool

[When] you keep your options open and avoid discriminating among candidates, you’ll better be able to see what you were missing out on. A diverse talent pool means countless applicants showing promise and potential to boost your business.

Better problem-solving skills

Employees belonging to underrepresented minorities have often faced challenges in the past and toughened up because of it. They’re generally more resilient, and you can count on them to effectively handle challenging situations.

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