Serious about sex: the 3 major advantages of more diversity
Knowledge about diversity within many organizations is still only integral to a very small group of people. I would really like to change this. If we really want to perform better people at all levels of the Organization we must know more about diversity; and that is my major motivation in everything I do; whether it is in training in Female Leadership, discussions with Managers or Boards of Directors, with women themselves, or in writing a book or article.
As Manager you want results, now more than ever, and that is also what you get paid for. And what about diversity? Yes of course you want to be open to the ideas and input of others. But sometimes those beautiful goals seem at odds with everything else that you as a Manager already have to do: lead an organization (section) and get results.
And so you no doubt ask (and rightly so) what benefits are in it for you, your Department and for your Company if you spend time and energy on the much acclaimed ‘diversity & inclusion’ To express intentions is fine. Setting objectives to be included in the social annual report is also a good thing. But to ask you to spend time on it every day – that is possibly asking a little too much. All of your work also needs to be done after all.
The good news is: you will be able to make a difference in an average of fifteen minutes per day; by looking at your business in a slightly different way and by taking slightly different actions. This is sure to translate into better results for you, your Department and your Organization.
And now: the advantages of diversity in Organizations:
By hindering an inflow of more women you disadvantage yourself and your organization. Make time for targeted action, not just because of ‘social advancement for the sake of social advancement’, but because more diversity does strengthen and improve organizations. You, women and your organization will all benefit from more diversity.
Advantage 2: 50 % more talent
Which manager is satisfied by searching for people to fill her or his main functions in only a small percentage of people? Focused diversity policy gives you much greater opportunities to find top talent for your organization. The top of an organization is often chosen from just a small part of its talent.
- The proportion of female Law students is around 57 percent. Those women are doing well; they often complete their studies more quickly at, on average, six months faster than their male fellow students. Men and women enter into Law firms at about the same ratios. Of all lawyers with up to five years of experience, more than half are woman. At the top, only few of these figures persist. Only 15% of all Partners are women. For the ten largest Legal Corporates this percentage is even lower; 12 percent. Of the women with more than ten years of service 1 percent is a Partner, against 12 percent of males with similar service who are Partners. There is absolutely no reflection of the law student population in the Partner ratio situation.*
- In the university setting in the Netherlands, slightly more than 50 percent of all students are female. However women only form 39 percent of all PhD students (promovendi), 29 percent of University Tutors, 17 percent of University leaders and only 10.5 percent of Senior Lecturers in the Netherlands.**
- In the primary education sector, women make up 80% of teachers, and only 30 percent are school Principals. And what can we say about the recruitment industry; that is definitely a very female industry, with a workforce of more than 80 percent women. However at management levels men prevail. And does the same not apply to Hospitals?
Advantage 3: Diverse teams make better decisions
When several people work on a solution decisions made will be better. After all, multiple points of view and opinions can be taken into account. More diversity and inclusion will lead to better discussions and ultimately to better results.
Strong evidence: What do scores reflect? Choose a woman!
Research shows time and time again that organizations perform better when there is more diversity at the top of organizations. See below for some of those investigations:
- As early as 2004 the leading American research firm Catalyst showed in The Bottom Line (from research from 1996 to 2000) that in the Fortune 500 organizations there is a proven correlation between the number of women in top executive positions and the financial results of these organizations. ‘More women’ meant ‘better financial results’;
- McKinsey shows that organizations with more women at the top achieve considerably better results than organizations with completely homogenous executive teams.
- Several years of research by Roy Adler from Pepperdine University showed a positive relationship between women at executive levels in organizations, and long-and short-term profits made by these organizations. The twenty five Fortune 500 – organizations with mostly executive-level women were between 18 and 69 percent more profitable than their peers in the same industry.
More diversity in organizations is not just about women!
However, organizations often start there if they want their organizations to be more diverse quickly. The proportion of female talent in the labor market is only increasing.
Women still leave organizations because they feel that they are not friendly enough. In the past these women disappeared into the background. But these women now contribute more and more to organizations that compete with their previous employers.
If you can’t join them, beat them!