The competitive edge that propels company growth, increases profitability and retains talent could very easily be built at the core of the company. This edge can be built or strengthened by increasing the diversity and inclusion of the workforce. Increased diversity and inclusion in a company workforce can bring great value to businesses.
A diverse work force has the potential to create and deliver a product to a larger market. The insight that comes through a diverse team helps develop a broad, inclusive vision. A diverse workforce will be able to analyze how a woman will handle a product differently from a man, or how a physically- challenged person may require product modifications. Businesses with diverse workforce will understand cultural and ethnic differences that may influence how people will respond to a product or service.
A diverse workforce, that reflects the differences in the population, will offer insight into product development and sales. A company that is diverse and inclusive will have the knowledge and experience it needs to serve our increasingly population.
The consulting firm McKinsey shows “inclusion and diversity as a source of competitive advantage, and specifically as a key enabler of growth.” Delivering through Diversity analyzed data from more than a thousand companies. They found that companies in the top quarter for gender diversity on their executive teams were 21 percent more likely to have above-average profitability. For ethnic and cultural diversity the benefits were even higher. Companies that are the ethnically diverse, including having a variety of ethnicities, are 33 percent more likely to outperform others in the same industry.
The 2015 McKinsey report “Why Diversity Matters” showed similar data. They believe that both these reports show that “more diverse companies are better able to attract top talent, improve their customer orientation, employee satisfaction and decision making.”
Challenges business face in building diversity and inclusion in their workforce are worth fighting to overcome. A tuition assistance program can be a key to developing diverse workers’ talents. Using tuition assistance to plan workers’ career paths will help develop a diverse workforce from within. This can help businesses meet future needs. The US Census projects this is the year that minorities will make up the majority of the under age 18 population. College completion rates among minorities are lower than among whites. If these rates don’t increase, by 2020 the share of American adults with college degrees will start to decline, says demographer William Frey of the Brookings Institution.
An increasingly diverse population means there will an increasingly diverse workforce. Creating tuition assistance goals that build and align a diverse workforce with company growth and development is a win-win for workers and business both. Building diversity and inclusion within a company means the company has a broad view of how their product and services appeal to their consumer base. The experiences of diverse leadership and workforce lead product development from experience and knowledge.
A tuition assistance program that is strategic in including all demographic groups can be a force in narrowing the completion and attainment gaps between racial and ethnic groups. This will build a diverse population of workers and leaders that can direct businesses in an increasingly diverse marketplace. The McKinsey report states, “Creating an effective inclusion and diversity strategy is no small effort and requires strong, sustained, and inclusive leadership. But we, and many of the companies we studied, believe the potential benefits of stronger business performance are well worth it.”
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