s an African American consultant, advisor, or coach, you might wonder, “Do I really need cultural diversity in the workplace?”
We constantly hear stories in the media about non-Black-owned companies with, at best, a non-inclusive environment for workers of color. And at worst, an outright hostile one. So the writing’s on the wall in those cases.
But what about when we own the business? As members of an underrepresented group at the bottom of the racial wealth gap… is ensuring diversity within our own teams something we truly need, or should want, to consider?
According to the data, the answer is definitely still… yes.
As you’ll see below, having a diverse team help us earn more revenue, get more clients, offer better solutions to our market, and outperform our competition.
We’re waiting for the rest of America to catch up. We know that diverse and inclusive work environments are more reflective of the REAL world.
Even though it’s typically more comfortable to hire team members that “look like us,” the best results and highest performance come when companies diversify. And not diversifying to take advantage of the best skills of diverse team members, but to appreciate and learn from the different banks of talent, skill, and perspective each culture brings to the table.
Diversifying Affords Our Companies More Useful “Tools”
Consider Abraham Maslow’s Law of the Instrument, “a cognitive bias that involves an over-reliance on a familiar tool.”
Applying that to the area of business, think of each of your team members as an expert on a particular tool.
Diversity makes companies stronger because different tools (perspectives) allow us to fix, and create, more stuff.
But conversely, an over-reliance on the same tired “tools” (perspectives) creates a one-trackmindedness that excludes many valuable perspectives.
Basically, there’s the old saying, “If you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”
But if your team includes a hammer, a screwdriver, a drill, AND a wrench… won’t you be able to solve a wider variety of problems?
But don’t take our word for it. Here’s the data showing how intentionally creating an inclusive organization is the literal best way to serve our ideal clients better, and earn more from our existing efforts.
23 Startling Benefits of Cultural Diversity in the Workplace: Backed by Science
While homogenous teams are often more confident of their skills, diverse teams actually complete tasks more successfully. [Deloitte Insights]
- Diverse teams can stimulate creativity, spur insight, and increase efficiency. [Deloitte Insights]
Diverse groups bring a greater variety of experience and views to decision-making processes… and then, they make better decisions [American Accounting Assoc.]
- Report: Racially and ethnically diverse companies outperform industry norms by 35%. [Forbes]
Report: Firms in the top quartile for ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have financial returns above national industry medians [Diversity Matters, McKinsey]
Report: Companies in the bottom quartile for ethnic diversity are less likely to achieve above-average returns. [Diversity Matters, McKinsey]
Report: Racial and ethnic diversity has a stronger impact on financial performance in the U.S. than gender diversity. [Diversity Matters, McKinsey]
- Companies with more women in leadership get blockbuster results [Credit Suisse]
Study: Teams containing more women had higher collective intelligence than both all-male teams AND teams with higher average IQs. [Harvard Business Review]
Study: High-performance organizations are 2Xs as likely as low-performance orgs to emphasize diversity & inclusion at their highest levels, and more than 2Xs as likely to intentionally include people with IDD (intellectual & developmental disabilities). [Institute for Corporate Productivity]
Study: Companies with a more diverse workforce consistently reported higher customer numbers than those organizations with less diversity among staff. [American Sociological Association]
Study: For every ONE percentage increase in the rate of racial diversity up to the rate represented in the relevant population, there was an increase in sales revenues of approximately NINE percent. [American Sociological Association]
Study: For every ONE percentage increase in the rate of gender diversity up to the rate represented in the relevant population, there was an increase in sales revenues of approximately THREE percent. [American Sociological Association]
Study: Racial diversity was found to be a better determinant of sales revenue and customer numbers than company size, the company’s age, OR the number of employees at any given work location. [American Sociological Association]
Study: Racial diversity was among the most important predictors of a company’s competitive positioning relative to other firms in its industry. [American Sociological Association]
Study: Mixed gender teams are more generous and egalitarian, and teams with a larger percentage of women perform better by building meaningful relationships and creating successful work processes. [Harvard]
Study: Teams with lower percentages of women have lower sales and lower profits than teams with a balanced gender mix. [Harvard]
- Study: Business teams with an equal gender mix perform better than male-dominated teams in terms of sales and profits. [Harvard]
The writing is on the wall:
Statistically speaking, and all else compared equally, diverse teams (and ethnically diverse teams in particular) will consistently earn more customers and more revenue than a gaggle of old white men–or brown ones.
You might still be skeptical of this, and I get it:
As a people who are THE most negatively affected by the racial wealth gap… doesn’t it make the most sense to hire as many well-qualified Black workers as we can?
I’m not saying it doesn’t.
But building a team is a complex process that can’t be fairly addressed with a single homogenous perspective. (See what I did there…?)
I merely present this perspective to raise awareness of the data, to empower you to come to your own conclusion that works best for your own mission and goals.
If you already have a diverse team or are considering building one, just don’t allow yourself to forget that “diversity” isn’t about the numbers. It’s about the numbers AND our authentic intention. As a start, you can check our giant list of inclusive holidays to celebrate diversity in the workplace.