When it comes to a team, the greater the diversity – the greater the innovation. By nature, we tend to gravitate to those who look and think like us – usually from the same racial or socioeconomic background. Unfortunately, the more we surround ourselves with those just like us, the greater the chance we fail to innovate, think outside of our own box, and miss out on new learnings and perspectives.

Diversity in the workplace is not a new concept; however, it is one that organizations are still trying to get right. Worse yet, those organizations that do not have a pulse on diversity are hurting, or at least not growing, because of it. Especially when it comes to lack of diversity in leadership within an organization. Whether we are talking about gender or race, the issue of diversity among leaders needs our attention.

Diversity is not just the right thing to do, there is a strong business case for it as well. Consider this – A 2019 study by McKinsey & Company showed that organizations ranking in the top quartile for racial/ethnic and gender diversity were respectively 35% and 15% more likely to have financial returns above their industry medians. Furthermore, in the U.S., for every 10% increase in racial and ethnic diversity amongst leadership, earnings rose 0.8%. So, if you think diversity does not impact your bottom line, think again.

However, getting diversity right is not rushing out to make a few hires so your team looks the part. It must be a deeper, more entrenched effort. Consider the following strategies as you assess where your company’s diversity is today and where you want to take it tomorrow:

Where Are You Now?

Before you know where you want to go, it is important to know where you have been. Conducting an internal audit of your diversity practices is a great place to start. Look into the ratios for gender, racial and ethnic groups of your current staff. Like many companies, you may find your teams are diverse on the frontlines, but not so much at the top. Also, take stock of the programs and initiatives you currently have in place that support or deter diversity.

Talk the Talk

Senior leaders must steer the ship. Without genuine support from the top, all the diversity practices put into place will be for nothing. Including a diversity statement into your existing organizational mission or values statement is a great place to begin. These statements are your foundation – it is what you come back to when making decisions on who to hire, who to promote and how you want your organization to lead into the future.

Break Down Unconscious Bias

A diverse team leads to improved group thinking and more creative results. So, where do you find your people? Whether you know it or not, the sources you use may be inherently biased – leading to biased decision-making. To expand your network (and your thinking), identify additional talent resources that are inherently more diverse. Implementing objective measures in your hiring and succession planning process is key. Battling our own unconscious bias takes work. Our biases are often so ingrained within us, we don’t even realize when they are in play. Working in objective rating forms, blind resumes, and manager training on unconscious bias and diversity will help to transform your organization.

Leading with diversity in mind will enable your organization to grow in ways you never could have imagined. When people of different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives come together for the greater good, great things can happen. And as the leader of your organization, you are perfectly poised to lead this initiative. What are you waiting for?

Looking to strengthen your diversity initiatives? Head on over to our website to download your copy of Emotional Intelligence and Balanced Leadership. If your organization could benefit from a new perspective during this challenging time, I encourage you to contact my team and I at East Tenth Group today.