Diversity and Pandemic – probably the most popular topics of the year 2020 (if we skip the US elections of course). Do these topics have anything in common, or do they work in a mutually exclusive fashion? In other words, are diversity and its close cousin inclusion a necessity in these challenging times of global Pandemic, or are they nothing but a luxurious option relevant only for those who can afford it? Tricky.
Diversity pays off
The topic of diversity and inclusion isn’t something particularly new. It has been there long enough to accumulate substantial evidence of its benefits. One study found, for instance, that companies with greater ethnic and cultural diversity tend to outperform their competitors by more than 30% (source). Indeed, diversity is a source of new impulses, new angles, new synergies, ideas outside the box. Also, the world around us is getting more disruptive and intertwined day by day, so much so that this is simply impossible to ignore that process staying on the sidelines.
Ergo: greater levels of diversity lead to better performance. Different sociocultural backgrounds, experiences and perspectives bring significant benefits not only to complex problem-solving and decision-making, but also risk management, attracting talent, employee engagement – the list goes on and on. Especially now, when the current environment practically consists of novel uncertainties and complex problems, benefits of inclusive diversity become a serious foundation in battling those challenges. Sounds terrific, let’s diversify! Well… It’s easier said than done.
There are several things to consider.
Good intentions are not enough
Diversity starts with a solid strategic approach. The current state of the company needs to be considered, direction defined, a goal or desired level of diversity and inclusion and means for achieving those desired levels. Whether is a new hiring policy to attract new diverse talent, or an inclusion workshop to improve the overall climate within the company – all is ultimately aimed to benefit the company and should be present in the diversity and inclusion strategy. Key here: hire based not on bias, but on skills!