Diversity – gender, ethnic and cultural – is a remarkable source of richness, bringing a positive dynamic to business management. However, too often the importance attributed to this quality is systematically underestimated by organizations, if compared to other qualities such as technical or social skills. Why the diversity is so important? In this article, Vincenzo Ganci – Founder and Managing Partner of Ganci Partners Executive Search in Switzerland and partner of IESF (International Executive Search Federation) explains.
When people see things differently, they think differently. Interactions between them will result in a sharing of ideas, knowledge and experiences that will make day-to-day work much more fruitful. Diversity in the workplace makes employees more open to trying new things, which is essential for creativity and innovation. Heterogeneity also helps to increase adaptability and understanding of what the customer wants. Finally, diversity helps to attract the best talent, who will feel well surrounded and better understood by the organization. And, last but not least, it’s proven than diversity brings a better profitability.
McKinsey study 2019
“According to a McKinsey study in 2019, companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 25% more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile (15% in 2014). Moreover, McKinsey found that the greater the representation, the higher the likelihood of outperformance. Companies with more than 30% women executives were more likely to outperform companies where this percentage ranged from 10% to 30%.”
While it is clear that diversity is very beneficial to an organization, it is essential that management understands how to manage it for the benefit of the organization. Indeed, the flip side of the coin is that diversity alone is not enough, nor does it guarantee a successful organization. It needs to be actively managed with measures and initiatives to allow heterogeneous groups to coexist and flourish. Without these efforts, diversity could become a handicap rather than an advantage. Creating a climate that values diversity, encourages employees to express themselves and gives them the opportunity to contribute actively can be an excellent start. Ensuring that communication between different people is effective and encourages exchange is also a crucial success factor.
To think about
All too often, in our profession, we meet potential candidates who are not interested in joining structures with only one category of people (only men, only national people, only engineers). No one wants to join a clan if they do not have the distinctive criteria of its members. On the contrary, many people want to work in an environment with different types of colleagues, in which they will certainly find affinities with one or the other. Also, we find that organizations do not give enough importance to the contribution that diversity can make to their organization. Sometimes it would be better to sacrifice technical skills in a profile in favor of more diversity and therefore performance.