Diversity Management: How Can It Help Grow Your Business?

Diversity Management How Can It Help Grow Your Business

Workplace diversity refers to employing a workforce comprised of individuals with a wide range of characteristics such as gender, race, ethnicity, age, religion, sexual orientation, disability status, cultural background, and more. While diversity has long been viewed as an ethical imperative or social responsibility, research increasingly shows that diversity management can provide tangible business benefits and be a key strategy for growth. This article explores the advantages diversity brings and best practices organizations can adopt to fully leverage diversity for innovation, profitability, talent acquisition, and long-term success.

The Business Case for Diversity

With globalization, shifting demographics, and the war for talent, diversity is becoming a business necessity rather than just a moral obligation. Here are some of the key data points demonstrating the business case for diversity:

  • Innovation: Companies with above-average diversity had 19% higher innovation revenues according to a BCG study of 1700 companies across 8 countries. Greater diversity in leadership also correlates to higher innovation revenue.
  • Financial performanceMcKinsey research of 1000 companies in 12 countries found that companies in the top quartile for ethnic/cultural diversity were 33% more likely to outperform in profitability. Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity were 21% more likely to have above-average profitability.
  • Market growth: Companies with greater workplace diversity are 70% more likely to capture a new market according to a Harvard Business Review study. Diversity helps connect with diverse customers.
  • Talent acquisition: 67% of job seekers rate workplace diversity as important when considering job offers according to Glassdoor. Diverse companies attract top talent from diverse talent pools.
  • Employee engagement: Employees in companies with strong diversity and inclusion are 120% more likely to feel engaged at work according to a study by Great Place to Work. Engaged employees perform 20% better.

Clearly, diversity positively impacts innovation, financials, growth, recruitment, and culture. As globalization intensifies and demographics shift, a diverse and inclusive workforce becomes crucial for business success.

How Does Diversity Drive Growth?

Diversity contributes to growth and competitiveness in multiple ways:

1. Broader Perspectives

Employees with different backgrounds bring diverse viewpoints shaped by their unique experiences and cultures. This mitigates groupthink and enables considering more alternatives. Broader perspectives lead to recognizing unseen opportunities and challenges.

2. Increased Creativity and Innovation

Diverse teams combine different perspectives, sparking creativity. Research shows diverse teams are more innovative, generating more creative ideas and solutions. Creativity is particularly crucial for innovation and differentiation.

3. Better Problem Solving

People with different experiences attack problems in different ways. Diverse teams leverage their varied approaches to generate more solutions and solve problems faster. Better problem-solving translates to higher competitiveness.

4. Reduced Groupthink

Groupthink occurs when a homogenous group’s desire for consensus overrides rational thinking. Diverse teams help avoid groupthink by adding dissenting voices and alternative viewpoints. This leads to better-quality decisions.

5. Stronger Customer Insights

A diverse workforce that mirrors your customer base provides greater insight into the needs, perspectives, and values of those customers. These insights enable developing products and services best suited for target markets.

6. Improved Employer Branding

Companies that champion diversity and inclusion are perceived as more progressive, appealing to top talent. Promoting diversity also positively shapes public perception. These boost employer branding and talent acquisition.

Best Practices for Leveraging Diversity

While diversity brings advantages, realizing the full benefits requires going beyond just hiring for diversity. Organizations need inclusive practices to engage diverse talent. Key best practices include:

Foster an Inclusive Culture

  • Express commitment to diversity and inclusion from the top.
  • Implement mandatory unconscious bias training.
  • Establish employee resource groups for diverse employees.
  • Celebrate cultural events and holidays across cultures.
  • Offer diversity mentoring and networking programs.

Promote Equitable Processes

  • Use structured interviews with consistent evaluation criteria.
  • Establish blind resume review.
  • Ensure diverse interviewers and selection panels.
  • Offer equal access to training and leadership programs.
  • Conduct regular pay equity audits across demographic groups.

Set Diversity Goals

  • Set specific, measurable diversity goals across different levels.
  • Link executive compensation to diversity metrics.
  • Track and report diversity data, including hiring, promotions, and turnover.
  • Require diverse candidate slates and interview panels.

Expand Recruiting Reach

  • Focus on diverse sourcing channels and partnerships.
  • Train recruiters on addressing unconscious bias.
  • Highlight diversity commitment in job postings and careers pages.
  • Develop relationships with professional associations for underrepresented groups.

Engage Leadership

  • Make diversity and inclusion a strategic priority linked to growth.
  • Ensure leaders demonstrate commitment through messaging and policies.
  • Provide leadership training on mitigating bias and modeling inclusion.
  • Hold leaders accountable for meeting diversity goals.

Diversity Management in Action: Case Studies

Here are a few examples of leading companies leveraging diversity management to drive growth and innovation:


Intel implemented a comprehensive diversity strategy focused on governance, accountability, representation, and culture. Some initiatives include:

  • Tying executive compensation to diversity goals
  • Establishing a Diversity in Technology Initiative investing $300 million to improve diversity in tech
  • Requiring diverse candidate slates for senior roles
  • Launching a Warmline for employees facing microaggressions
  • Expanding retention programs for underrepresented groups

Intel’s diversity efforts resulted in significant increases in underrepresented minority representation. Their diversity scores also directly correlate to higher employee retention and engagement.


Sodexo adopted diversity as a core business strategy globally. Key elements include:

  • Appointing a Global Chief Diversity Officer reporting to the CEO
  • Establishing employee network and mentoring groups for all levels
  • Mandating diversity training for managers
  • Setting public diversity and inclusion goals
  • Partnering with diversity organizations for recruiting

Sodexo’s emphasis on diversity contributed to:

  • Increased employee engagement and retention
  • Growth in client retention and acquisition
  • Expanded market opportunities


Airbnb aims to build an inclusive culture through initiatives like:

  • Founder’s scholarships for underrepresented minority engineers
  • Partnering with organizations like Girls Who Code to expand the talent pipeline
  • Requiring diverse candidate slates and structured interview training
  • Establishing employee resource groups for women, LGBTQ, Black employees etc.
  • Offering unconscious bias training for all employees

Airbnb’s holistic diversity programs contributed to:

  • 50% increase in female and underrepresented minority employees
  • More than doubling revenue and tripling listings from 2015 to 2019
  • Stronger employee engagement and sense of inclusion


Diversity management is becoming a key business growth driver rather than just an ethical obligation. Diverse teams lead to broader perspectives, increased creativity and innovation, faster problem-solving, reduced groupthink, and stronger customer insights. To fully leverage diversity, organizations need not just hiring initiatives but also inclusive cultures, equitable processes, expanded recruiting, and engaged leadership. With comprehensive strategies, diversity management can provide organizations with a sustained competitive advantage.

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