High-performing teams don’t just happen. They require keen recruitment, staffing, and training strategies — all of which should focus on creating a diverse and inclusive (D&I) culture. Research shows that inclusive teams perform up to 30 per cent better in high-diversity environments, according to industry analyst firm Gartner. This is the result of several key advantages D&I teams can give your organisation, including the following.
Access to top talent
Hiring top talent is what every employer wants, but it’s only possible if diverse candidates are all fairly considered. When diversity and inclusion exist, employers give themselves a greater chance of gaining access to a larger talent pool. In turn, this ensures that they can hire employees with the skills, experience, and knowledge needed to build high-performance teams. Employee performance in diverse organisations is 12 per cent higher than in companies with no inclusivity efforts.
Increased sense of belonging
With more 76 per cent of job seekers saying a diverse and inclusive workforce is essential when evaluating companies and job offers, this should be critical for employers. Developing a culture that encourages D&I creates a sense of belonging for all employees. Harvard Business Review reports that having a high sense of belonging can increase job performance by 56 per cent or more, reduce turnover by 50 per cent, and significantly decrease the number of sick days.
Higher levels of trust
Environments that encourage D&I practices promote trust and employee engagement among employees. This trust leads to a feeling of psychological safety, which, in turn, leads to respect. Without either of these, teams and their leaders are unlikely to work well together, much less increase team productivity and performance. Research shows that organisations that trust their employees are more likely to increase their average employee engagement by 76 per cent. This has become extremely important as many organisations shift to a remote or hybrid team model. Trust in the workplace allows employees to feel secure, reduces turnover, and increases engagement.
Increased employee engagement
It’s estimated that 83 per cent of millennials are more actively engaged in their work when their employers support D&I initiatives. There’s a direct relationship between diversity practices and employee engagement. If employees feel valued and included, they are far more likely to become engaged and remain so. When employees are engaged in workplace activities, they are typically more motivated and do their best work. This is often reflected in their individual and team performance. Typically, companies that can achieve higher employee engagement see 20 per cent higher productivity than the competition, and higher productivity increases team and company performance overall.
With 78 per cent of employees surveyed saying they work for a company that lacks diversity in leadership, it’s bound to impact output and decision-making. When employees feel this way, it hampers their performance. On the surface, it may seem that a team that thinks alike is the best way to make decisions. This is no longer the case: Diversity and inclusion matter. It’s estimated that diverse and inclusive companies are 60 per cent more likely to outperform their peers where decision-making is concerned.
Diversity in leadership is seen as lacking and often impacts innovation. A diverse culture isn’t just about an employee’s physical appearance; it’s about how employees think. Cognitive diversity is estimated to enhance team innovation by up to 20 per cent.
With diversity comes multiple perspectives. When team members bring a variety of backgrounds, cultures, and experiences, they are more likely to solve problems and be innovative. This can lead to more thoroughly vetted results. Leaders are also more likely able to make better decisions based on facts. Inclusive management also optimises talent and productivity, leading to higher-performing teams.
When teams such as IT have access to a larger talent pool, they are more apt to find high-performing talent based on skills, knowledge, and experience. This requires diversity in leadership for better decision-making and fostering a culture of belonging and trust that can lead to increased engagement and better team performance.