The Importance of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Workforce

People | David Rea| March 3, 2022

With everything that goes into running a manufacturing business, diversity initiatives often take a backseat to day-to-day processes. However, recent studies show direct links between equity and operational excellence. More importantly, a diverse workforce brings opportunities to every kind of person at every level.

To highlight the importance of diversity in the workforce, let’s explore some scientific research and insights.

Diversity and Financial Success

McKinsey and Company, a management consulting firm started in 1926, published a report that examined diversity across 366 businesses. The report includes data from businesses in the United Kingdom, United States, Canada and Latin America. For CEOs looking to start diversity initiatives, two key findings show that such programs actually bolster overall business performance.

First, racially- and ethnically-diverse companies are 35% more likely to have financial returns above national industry medians. When workers break down barriers supported by generations of prejudice and stereotyping, they make more innovative teams. Open-minded and ready to implement new ideas, diverse yet cohesive teams form strong bonds that foster healthy work cultures.

The second finding shows that the most gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to achieve higher financial returns than average. Like racially and ethnically diverse teams, gender-diverse teams encourage innovation. When men and women know that the same opportunities exist for everyone, they collaborate and work towards one unified goal: success.

Diversity and New Talent

When long-tenured employees retire, it changes a company’s structure. Promotions and hiring campaigns seek to fill the ranks with inventive minds that offer fresh perspectives. In an era defined by worker shortages, how does a company find these promising new hires?

A 2021 Glassdoor survey found that 76% of job seekers say a diverse workforce is important to whether they accept offers or not. If your company isn’t diverse, it won’t be an interviewee’s top choice. Today’s up-and-coming professionals don’t want stuffy work cultures — they crave environments that foster innovation and make equity a reality.

Inclusion and Employee Retention

Diversity, inclusion and equity initiatives, or DEI initiatives, aren’t just important to prospective employees. They keep existing employees around. To illustrate this, let’s look at another industry that has seen record numbers of employees flee from offices: technology.

The Kapor Center, a firm fighting for more equity and inclusion in tech companies, found:

  • 37% of employees who left tech jobs cited unfairness as a key factor.
  • Men of color are more likely to leave due to an un-inclusive culture.
  • Based on the percentages of employees that leave tech jobs because of unfairness, the problem costs the industry $16 billion in employee replacement costs every year.

In this study, which also included statistics about women and underrepresented ethnic cultures, unfairness isn’t just getting passed over for a promotion or not getting a good raise. It includes bullying, harassment of all kinds, general hostility and the undermining of minorities in high-ranking positions.

Combating inclusion, equity and diversity problems requires unique solutions. Through leadership development, long-term succession planning, assessments and team-building workshops, Catalyst Connection helps manufacturing businesses build DEI initiatives that truly work. To find out how one of our programs can help your business achieve operational excellence through inclusion, contact us today.

Don’t forget to check out Catalyst Connection’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Toolkit.