Study: More diverse workforce pays off for organizations



Study: More diverse workforce pays off for organizations

Study: More diverse workforce pays off for organizations

A diverse workforce literally earns organizations more money. "In terms of the big picture, it has been proven over and over again if you have a diverse workforce -- diverse in the general sense of women, men, people of color, young, old, etc. -- you will indeed come up with better ideas and solution to problems," said Mari Watanabe, executive director of Partners in Diversity, a Portland nonprofit that helps companies recruit and retain a diverse workforce.

"The return on your investment is definitely there in having a diverse workforce." A workforce that's gender diverse will outperform those lacking by 15 percent, and an ethnically diverse company will outperform others by 35 percent, according to a study by McKinsey & Company. "It's a huge, huge financial gain," Watanabe said. A study by the American Sociological Association found that a 1 percent increase in organizational diversity roughly equates to 9 percent in revenue growth. Watanabe said these findings can apply to any type of organization, including the city of Vancouver.

"It's still really about solving problems and having more diverse voices at a table," she said. "You will still come out with a lot more opportunities, outcomes and ideas than you would if at the table everyone looked the same." A focus on diversity is imperative, Watanabe added. "As our community grows more and more diverse, all the more you will need to better prepare yourself for the change in our demographics," she said.

The focus must come from the top down, she said. "They have to actually own it and be responsible for it," Watanabe said. "Sometimes they will say, 'Oh yeah, we want to be that way but I'm giving it to my HR practitioner to do that.' I think that's fine, they will do the work, but if it really isn't embraced by the leadership, it won't be successful." And the efforts aren't easy and certainly can't be completed overnight. "You can't do a one-time training and expect it to change. It takes a lot more work," she said
 

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