For many organizations, diversity and inclusion (D&I) are the main priority for the new year, not because it’s solely the right thing to do, but because implementing a formal D&I program has proven positive outcomes and direct benefits for the workplace and the business.

Companies that want to take an integrated approach to diversity and inclusion in this new decade will have a competitive advantage by boosting profit and attracting better talent. Highly inclusive organizations generate 1.4 times more revenue and are 120% more capable of meeting financial targets.

Let’s deep dive into diversity and inclusion and get a better understanding of each, and how it’s a great business opportunity to help improve the overall performance of a company.

What is diversity?

Diversity in the workplace means a business employs a wide range of diverse employees. Diversity is all of the characteristics and traits that make people unique. This can range from gender, race, physical ability, religion, age, etc. Having a wide range of diverse people in one place can add value to the business.

Quick Stats on Diversity: 67% of job seekers said that a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers. – Glassdoor

What is inclusion?

Inclusion is when all employees of an organization feel a sense of value, engagement, and belonging. A workplace is a community so it’s important that everyone feels welcomed, valued and included on a day-to-day basis. Inclusion feeds off diversity and can only grow if leadership fosters and supports it.

Quick Stats on Inclusion: 83% of millennials are more engaged when they think their company fosters an inclusive culture. – Deloitte

6 ways D&I is a powerhouse for your business

Increases profit
Increased profits is a goal all companies want to achieve, and while some may be able to achieve it without making diversity and inclusion a priority, those companies are still being out-performed. Researchers found that 180 diverse workforce companies throughout the world and the United States were top financial performers, as opposed to those that lacked diversity in their workforce blueprint.

Streamlines hiring results
With the tight labor market, finding reliable and skilled workers can be a headache. Diversity and inclusion can be the solution to the headache. Job seekers consider a diverse workplace as an important factor, so employers should respond to that need. By incorporating this diversity and inclusion, employers will be able to attract top talent from diverse talent pools, while also finding talent that shares the same values, making it easier to find talent that matches your hiring goals.

Leads to greater innovation
A company with a diverse background of employees has a greater opportunity for innovation. Different life experiences and backgrounds of each employee bring contrasting outlooks on situations, leading to new ideas and advanced ways to solve challenges. Actively diverse and inclusive companies are 1.7 times more likely to be innovation leaders in their market. Diversity directly opens up the door to capture multiple perspectives.

Access to a wider talent pool
Diversity can help position an organization as a desirable place to work and can be a real competitive advantage. This can increase the organization’s ability to attract and retain superior performing talent from diverse groups. Having employees from different backgrounds creates an enriched and engaged company culture that’s good for business. A diverse and larger talent pool gives you access to broader skills and experiences that will provide better overall results for the company.

Improves brand image
A diverse and inclusive team can boost your overall brand reputation. Having a positive and welcoming reputation can showcase to existing and prospective clients that you value all backgrounds, and are dedicated to building and promoting diversity in the workplace. Showcasing your diversity can open the door for new opportunities with customers and partners because you will attract like-minded individuals that will be able to easily relate to your organization’s values.

Boosts customer service
Regardless of the industry or business, it’s likely that your customers are a diverse group of individuals from different ethnic backgrounds. Having a strong workforce that reflects your customer’s diversity and demographics will allow your team and organization to connect better to your customers.

A diverse workforce helps companies be more innovative, achieve better results and gives a competitive advantage. With these benefits, it’s clear why diversity and inclusion should be a top priority for all organizations. It’s time to start moving the dial on diversity and inclusion by creating a formal strategy that will take your business to a whole new level.