Incredibly, not all businesses have diversity woven into their business strategies, even though so much evidence now exists to show its business critical rather than just ‘nice-to-have’.
In our global society, successful and dynamic businesses will be as diverse as the regions and countries in which they operate, bringing them competitive advantage in terms of talent management and market share, resulting in greater profit and innovation.
It is true to say that those businesses not encouraging diversity will eventually get left behind.
And when I talk about diversity, I mean so much more than just genders, cultures, disabilities and age. I also refer to all the other aspects of a person that are harder to see such as upbringing, experiences, lifestyle, faith, sexual orientation, family life and values.
In my line of work, on a regular basis, I see firsthand how differences can bring a depth and variety of ideas that would otherwise remain undiscovered. Diversity brings unique insights that can truly help leverage the potential of a business.
With a diverse workforce, management team and board, the wide range of needs of customers at local, national and international levels are more easily and effectively met. Utilising a variety of talents, perspectives and experiences can bring about more rapid and effective change.
At The Connectives we practice what we preach and we work with a whole range of people in order to achieve and bring about positive change.
Far too often people assume that consultancy is the preserve of a particular group of people who fall into a certain age bracket, have a specific academic background or have served a particular number of years. Our view is for business (and the world) to be different and we start by asking… ‘Ever wondered what it would be like if we did things a little differently?’
Our success, and many of our clients’, reinforces the value of thinking and acting outside of conventional lines. This comes from having colleagues that bring breadth, depth and lived experience as well as involving customers and staff who are close to projects or problems – using their insights on how things can be improved.
When we partnered 42nd Street on the build and design of a youth centre, The Space, the young people the charity worked with, who experienced mental health problems, were absolutely integral to its success – their experience of life with challenges provided the creative spark to answer the question…’what if the built form made me feel better not worse?’ Lifting their voices and wisdom, they were able to shape the project and their input has made The Space what it is today – functional, inspiring and award winning.
A lack of diversity is no longer acceptable – or profitable.
Businesses wishing to address their lack of diversity must do so in a meaningful and sustainable way. It should never simply be a token gesture of political correctness, but lead to something positive and tangible.
When built into a team or organisation from the very beginning and seen as a core value, diversity can lead to innovation and business success. It’s one of the reason we’re seeing more and more work coming from a variety of sectors, which involves us advising boards on diversity programmes, developing and promoting talent from a wide range of backgrounds into leadership roles and recruiting new energy from underrepresented groups.
Bringing in different perspectives and experiences enables businesses to find new and innovative solutions to the challenges they face, better understand their customers’ needs, bring fantastic new skills into their teams and introduce improved products or services.
Diversity should be in the DNA of every business, not only because it’s the healthy, right thing to do but also because it is known to offer a competitive advantage, improve results and have a positive impact on a business’ bottom line.
The richness of diverse people, thinking, talent and suppliers should be valued. When you make it more than a box to be ticked it will give the brightest and best talent a chance to shine and it will enable your business to reflect the essences of our global society.
And with shifting and emerging markets? Well we’re helping many see the chance to embrace opportunities through diversity and evidence of some of the biggest and most successful brands, which show those putting diversity at the heart of their business, to mirror the diversity of the markets they serve, outperform others on national, regional and local levels too.
It really does matter!