By Kelsey Pytlik, Co-Founder, Gild Collective

For many organizations, diversity is a core value that has been baked into the company since day one. For others, it is a gray area, without a clear understanding of how to approach the concept. For some, it is something that is noted as important but lacks the background understanding of why. In order to get true buy-in to grow a diverse and inclusive workplace, everyone must understand the value that different people, different ideas and different perspectives bring to an organization.

1. Diversity of Thought
Research shows that diverse teams outperform homogeneous teams because complex decision making is benefitted when diversity is represented. Not only does the diverse group member contribute something unique, but the entire group responds differently with a more varied group of individuals. When surrounded by a group of people who look like you, act like you or support the same opinions, you are more likely to overemphasize the qualities you have in common with the homogenous group. On the flip side, you may feel more free to deliver a differing opinion in a more diverse group.

Beyond opinion sharing, studies show that “diverse teams are more likely to constantly reexamine facts and remain objective. They may also encourage greater scrutiny of each member’s actions, keeping their joint cognitive resources sharp and vigilant.” This ultimately makes teams smarter. As a result, going beyond your comfort zone and working beyond biases can make you more effective, your teams more innovative and your organization more profitable.

2. Recruitment, Engagement and Retention of all Talent
There is a perception that a focus on diversity will only help to advance the minority parties — but recent gender-focused research from Accenture shows that when there is a culture of equity in an organization, women are more likely to rise to leadership positions and the men are also more likely to do so.

Using an unbiased recruiting and performance review process can help to increase representation of diversity across all characteristics by focusing on an individual’s qualifications that truly matter for the role. Creating an inclusive environment that goes beyond diversity is where you will begin to see greater engagement and retention of your diverse employees.

3. Impact on the Bottom Line and Financial Performance
If the monetary value of more effective and innovative teams, plus more engaged employees with less turnover isn’t clear, there is also a correlation between more diverse companies and their financial performance. McKinsey & Company has looked at 1,000 companies over 12 countries and found that “companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on their executive teams were 21 percent more likely to experience above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile.” For ethnic and cultural diversity, there is a 33 percent likelihood of outperformance on EBIT margin. Furthermore, there is a penalty for not being diverse on both measures —companies in the fourth quartile on both gender and ethnic diversity are more likely to underperform their industry peers on profitability by 29 percent.

With these benefits top of mind, investing in your organization to increase diversity and inclusion can be a key way to improve your business performance for individuals, teams and the bottom line. While diversity doesn’t happen overnight, you can begin to create and grow an intentionally when it comes to company policies that influence the culture of the organization. One great place to begin is with a greater understanding of the unconscious biases that we all carry with us and how with greater awareness we can begin to interrupt them.

About the Gild Collective and inclusion efforts

Kelsey Pytlik is the Co-Founder of Gild Collective. Gild Collective designs women’s leadership workshops and organizational strategies to empower female professionals to lead and live with greater confidence and passion. Through workshops and long-term initiatives, Gild Collective offers solutions to addressing the issues and challenges of workplace diversity and inclusion efforts.

Join Partners in Change for our Unconscious Bias Learning Forum on August 25 from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. at Flynn and Company (7800 E. Kemper Rd, Suite 150, Cincinnati, OH 45249). Contact Partners in Change Director Darcy Bien to RSVP.