International Women's Day 2019
Today, we celebrate International Women’s Day 2019, with the theme of this year being #BalanceforBetter.
So, what does this mean? This years’ campaign centres on the struggle towards a more gender balanced world. This initiative permeates government, media, business and much, much more. Celebrating women’s achievements in, and out of the workplace.
Ensuring that your business is diverse and inclusive is essential for success nowadays, but, it’s fair to say that there is a long way to go. With only 21% of all Vice Presidents in sales being Female.
But, for businesses that get diversity right, you can really reap the rewards.
Starting with the obvious, businesses that are as diverse as their clients and customers will see a much larger consumer base. Nearly 80% of employers surveyed for LinkedIn’s Global
Recruiting Trends survey cited diversity as a priority for 2019 to ‘improve company culture’, and over 60% prioritised D&I to improve ‘company performance’.
Not only that, having a single woman on your board can reduce your risk of bankruptcy by 20%, (Wilson). This is due to a number of factors, the study suggests that women are significantly more likely to take the interests of multiple stakeholders into account before making a decision. They’re also more inclined to collaborate, cooperate and therefore, make fairer decisions.
Interestingly, FemaleBreadwinner.com also found that diverse teams perform better on the whole during a financial crisis. This makes sense, as diversity across your workforce means that teams will take a varied approach to problems, thus coming to better decisions.
‘An article in the Professional Manager on women in leadership commented on the research –
“There can be no doubt that the presence of women on boards and in management will limit any natural tendency for all-male groups to exhibit overtly masculine, or risky, behaviour – a restraint that would almost certainly have been rewarded when the bad debts were called in during 2008. In addition, diversity of all kinds would enable multiple viewpoints to be taken on board – including some that would otherwise have been sidelined – and should facilitate better strategic decision-making.”’
Similar findings were reported by the Credit Suisse Research Institute in 2012. In their report on the benefits of gender diversity, they found that shares of companies with women on boards outperformed comparable businesses by 26% worldwide.
In fact, diverse businesses produce 19% more revenue through innovation (BCG). The study looked at 1700 different companies across 8 different countries, with varying industries and company sizes. Which is why the list of the most ‘diverse and inclusive companies of 2018’, is also a list of incredibly successful companies. Including GSK, SKY, AutoTrader and HSBC - these businesses also regularly top the lists of ‘best companies to work for’.
It’s not surprising that tech companies and start-ups benefit the most from diversity, as innovation is at the core of any strong tech business. It’s also been widely acknowledged that diversity breeds creativity across teams.
So, what do these companies do that ensures a diverse workforce?
All of these businesses have a strong D&I policy, complete with diversity training. More importantly, diversity isn’t a tick box exercise for these companies, it’s a part of their DNA. It isn’t enough to run a single diversity session, diverse businesses treat inclusion as behaviour change, embedding inclusion as a part and parcel of a role.
These businesses overlook ‘culture fit’, they don’t seek people that fit their mould. They actively look for individuals that will bring something new to the business. They instead define their culture through values, rather than personality traits.
It’s easy to hire extraverted salespeople that you know will fit within your team. But, you might be better hiring someone that shares the same values, such as tenacity and passion, whilst at the same time, will bring something new to the table.
Businesses that lack the confidence in their own culture and resort to hiring the same people every time, will always make less money than those that take diversity seriously.
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