A Roadmap for Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

By Mostafa Sayyadi

Drawing from existing literature this article suggests new insights to identify workplace diversity as a primary driver of sales, profitability and financial performance for companies. Executives will see that improving financial performance and sales requires developing diversity and inclusion within organizations, not only at the higher echelons of the organization but at every level. This summarizes my experience of working with a team of top-level management consultants in San Diego, California.

The global markets require top management executives who can adapt to various environments successfully. Executives can contribute to meet dynamic market needs, through adopting a diversity and inclusion strategy to meet the needs of customers in the marketplace. This article presents executives with diversity and inclusion strategy to improve financial performance and become more profitable.

The critical and unanswered question is: How can corporate leaders improve financial performance? There are many academic studies that focus on the organizational and managerial factors that drive sales, profitability and financial performance.

Diversity and inclusion in the workplace is one such area that plays a critical role and is a strategic prerequisite for business success in today’s hypercompetitive global environment. In particular, a diversity and inclusion strategy can help companies to improve financial performance in terms of achieving commercial goals and the quality of products and services. This is the reason that this strategy is so popular among practicing managers today.

The ultimate business outcome is financial success which narrows the gap between success and failure and this can be achieved by the commitment of its members and facilitated by an executive acting as a facilitative-leader. In doing this, corporate leaders need to focus on the critical human assets such as commitment and thus help followers to effectively implement organizational changes with both efficiency and effectiveness. They can shed light on the strategic role of follower attitudes and values to accomplish a higher degree of effectiveness, and highlight the importance of employees in implementing changes at the organizational level.

When corporate leaders show concern for the employee’s individual needs, individuals begin to contribute more commitment and they become more inspired them to put extra effort into their work. This extra effort improves the quality of products, customer satisfaction, and impacts the return on assets, sales, shareholder value, and finally improves financial success and operational risk management.

Financial success can be only achieved by a diversity and inclusion strategy. Followers’ diversity of skills and interpersonal relations that is based on trust and reciprocity can improve innovation and the performance of group cohesiveness. At this point, you’re probably asking why the diversity of skills is so important. The simple answer is that companies that may lack diversity in the workplace cannot share their knowledge. With an effective diversity and inclusion strategy, global leaders may improve knowledge sharing and learning that can eventually enhance financial performance in global markets through empowering human resources and enabling change at the organizational level.

Scholars have proven that executives can increase workplace diversity to facilitate knowledge sharing and build relationships, aiming at improving customer satisfaction through acquiring additional knowledge from customers, developing better relationships with them, and providing a higher quality of service and/or products for them. Furthermore, creating an expert group or steering committee may be shortsighted because such groups may not have sufficient diversity to comprehend knowledge acquired from external sources.

Leadership in some companies has failed to pay attention to this important matter and create a team that makes diversity a priority and represents a variety of ideas and perspectives; a leadership status that is not only a failing platform, but one that represents destruction, as opposed to innovation and expansion. This leadership gap can provide lessons for CEOs and executives in today’s organizational challenges. The fact remains that leaders that manage diversity and use it as an important driving force for financial success find their companies to be more competitive and on the cutting edge.

The question posited for top management executives and leaders in any and all companies is to accept the challenge of diversity and inclusion strategy implementation in order to address the current gaps in business effectiveness and improve their financial performance and competitiveness in global markets.

Executives should embrace a diversity and inclusion strategy. I attempt to blend scholarly concepts with real world application through thoroughly looking at an effective strategy for maximizing financial performance. Executives must be aware that their diversity in the workplace can fundamentally affect the way a corporation performs its functions and can make a fundamental change in the processes by which a company achieves commercial objectives, improves sales and profitability and also increases financial performance, which is dependent upon how executives formulate their diversity and inclusion strategy. And business success for companies in today’s global business environment can be better achieved when a diversity and inclusion strategy is effectively applied and widely used to achieve a higher degree of effectiveness and financial performance. Therefore, when companies can have a very diverse employee population, they will secure a foothold in the ever-expansive global business environments.

Mostafa Sayyadi is with the Institute of Management Consultants, Victoria, Australia

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