Diversity and inclusion are the future of businesses

An inclusive environment that values diversity will create stronger organisations that are more likely to succeed.   Nowadays, diversity and inclusion are the driving force of the future of businesses.

Greater diversity and inclusiveness will play a leading role in creating a more harmonious society. In such a society people of all genders, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, nationality, or religion will be equal partners. While such a society may seem a utopian paradise, holding the vision and dedicatedly working toward it is the key. During the previous century, hundreds of millions died in two scathing world wars while the majority of humanity was under colonial subjugation to European powers. Institutions such as the UN, whose success as a keeper of peace is considered debatable by many, have had success in creating a global narrative on the most important global issues. No such institution existed in prior centuries. The UN Human Rights Council has been created explicitly to protect human rights, while its success may well also be questioned. That there is today a definition of human rights, which was absent in centuries prior certainly bodes well for the realization of a more peaceful society.

Diversity is the key to wealth

It was the economist David Ricardo who revealed the secret that makes countries rich. He showed to the world that rich countries were those which traded most with one another. A simple reason for this is that countries have a comparative advantage over other countries in the production of goods. Similarly, diversity in the workplace allows people who have different strengths to contribute to the success of the organisation. It is no coincidence that some of the leading minds in technology are Indian despite relatively low standards of education in India when compared to those in developed countries. The benefits that Indian IT workers and leaders in the sphere of technology bring are understood by recruiters in the west. Indians, David Ricardo would say, have a comparative advantage in the development of software.

How diversity benefits organisations

One of the reasons to have a diverse workforce is that it allows the sharing of a wide range of viewpoints. Such a wide range of viewpoints are more likely to allow companies to foresee challenges and take advantage of new opportunities.

A company that has a diverse workforce will be better able to identify new trends because it will have a workforce that represents its customers. A representative workforce will allow a company to understand what kind of products or marketing strategies will work with certain segments of consumers. Such a head start in identifying new trends and in understanding consumers makes diverse organisations more profitable.

Greater diversity is also proven to motivate staff and leads to lower absenteeism and to greater productivity as well. Hence, an inclusive environment that values diversity will create stronger organisations that are more likely to remain successful.

Role of leaders

Leaders play a key role in managing diversity by creating within an organization a culture that is respectful and inclusive and in which employees have an opportunity to learn, contribute, and grow. To make a workplace more diverse organizations should perform annual monitoring and diversity audits. Diversity ratios and hiring should be part of Leadership KPIs. Doing so allows an organization to not only understand the ethnic makeup of its employees but allows it to create a more diverse workforce in the future.

How to be diverse

To make themselves more diverse, organisations can create partnerships with colleges and other organisations in different parts of the country. Some companies have succeeded by making their companies more diverse by offering well-paying summer internships to people from a background from which few work in the company.

Companies can also use mentoring as a tool to ensure that people from diverse backgrounds are recruited and suitably promoted to all levels within the organisation. A mentor plays an important part in aiding the progression of minority candidates to leadership roles in an organisation. Such initiatives are needed to ensure that all employees in an organisation are allowed to flourish and progress in the corporate hierarchy. Greater participation by all employees, including those from diverse backgrounds, ensures that talent is recognised and harnessed allowing everyone to reach their full potential.


This article is written by Dr Niru Kumar Founder and D & I Consultant, Ask Insights