Research tells us that having a mix of men and women or people of different races on a leadership team correlates with better business performance. Research also points out that homogenous teams – even though they are more comfortable to work in – are less innovative and less accurate at solving problems. We believe that companies who achieve inclusion will reap the benefits of diversity, and in so doing, will also become more diverse. It’s a virtuous circle that begins when employees can be themselves and be accepted.
Diversity initiatives that help those who are different to better succeed in the existing environment are sadly necessary, but such programs will not transform culture. Simultaneously, a big focus on what may now be small populations within the organization can generate a fear of favouritism amongst the majority demographic. To successfully make a company culture more inclusive means embedding inclusive leadership throughout talent development.
There are two main leadership capabilities that can help inclusion:
1) The skill to discuss difference in civil, productive ways; and
2) The ability to recognize and cultivate talent from different demographics
Our approach is to implement programs at the structural and individual levels that mesh seamlessly with existing processes and to help clients reposition inclusion as central to its business goals rather than as a ‘nice-to-have’.