- April 13, 2018
- Posted by: CSR-in-Action
- Category: Feature Articles
Diversity is any one of the diverse dimensions that we use to differentiate individuals and groups in terms of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability education and national origin while inclusion is any effort geared towards ensuring that everyone is accepted, welcomed, respected and treated equally everywhere on earth’s surface, their differences notwithstanding.
In our imperfect world, diversity has been a force for good and a vehicle for strife and disintegration as we have seen it in the realities of ethnic chauvinism and religious jingoism here in Nigeria and across the entire four cardinal points of the world.
Now that sustainability in business has become one of the most important milestones that corporates aspire to, so many companies especially those in the fortune 500 category now make cultural, religious, gender, physical and sexual (LGBTQ) diversity a top priority issue in conformance with numerous United Nations policies such as the United Nations Free and Equal, United Nations Declaration on Cultural Diversity, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations Guiding Principle on Business and Human Rights and most recently, goals 5 and 10 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals which ambitiously seeks to achieve gender equality and reduce inequality respectively. In fact, Josh Bersin of Bersin by Deloitte in 2016 called diversity and inclusion the top priority of 2016.
In today’s corporate world, diversity and inclusion have become important indices because research continually shows that companies that consider diversity and inclusion in their organizational processes such as participation in meetings, physical organization of work spaces, access to specific facilities and information outperform their peers on many levels. It has been established that diversity and inclusion in the workplace make people feel a sense of love and people who feel valued perform better and feel more obliged to help reach organisational goals.
Furthermore, making a workplace diverse means the people who make up the place come with divergent opinions, world views, skills, personalities and attitudes that the organisation can leverage on in its activities thereby boosting innovation, enhancing productivity and profitability as also reiterated by studies from Mckinsey and Harvard Business School.
The Chief Executive Officer of Progressive Insurance, Neil Lenane while talking about the benefits of diversity said “Since we rely on diversity of thought to find innovative solutions to new business challenges as well as provide products and services that exceed our customers’ expectations, we find the key is respecting all people (our own, customers, vendors, etc.) and valuing the differences among all of them. By always putting these values into action, we overcome personal inhibitions and apprehensions. And as a result, we can more openly share our ideas and help Progressive grow as a company.”
Inclusion and diversity in business is now more than ever an essential ideal that businesses must strive to inculcate as globalisation has expanded trade frontiers and made it almost impossible for companies not to interact or transact with people and cultures different from their own.
To sum it all up, we must not forget that often at times, our best business decisions are not products of consensual agreements but of differing contestations.
- Diversity and Inclusion: A Beginner’s Guide for HR Professionals. Ideal Blog. Ji-a Min, October 2016
- Diversity Management, Challenges and Opportunities in Multicultural Organisations. The International Journal of Diversity in Organisations, Communities and Nations. Patrick A. Edewor and Yetunde A. Aluko, 2007.
- Workforce Diversity and Productivity: An Analysis of Employer-Employee Matched Data. Economics Program Working Paper Series. Linda Barrington and Kenneth R. Troske, April 2001.