Inclusiveness isn’t just a nice-to-have. Having a diverse workforce with people from various educational, cultural and racial backgrounds fosters a range of alternative skills, opinions and approaches. Coupled with employees of differing experience levels and those who’ve worked in other businesses and sectors, this creates a unique environment where different viewpoints can be utilised to great effect, leading to more diverse innovation and business routes which may not otherwise have been considered.
But simply throwing a mix of people together doesn’t guarantee high performance. It requires inclusive leadership to ensure that all team members feel they are treated respectfully and fairly, are valued, confident and inspired, and performing at their peak.
Why is this so important?
- Generational diversity is expanding
The average global life expectancy of humans in 1900 was 31. Today, it’s 72. Due to advances in medicine and technology, people are living longer, and therefore working longer. Longer careers will increase the number of different generations working simultaneously in the workforce.
- To attract, retain, and engage millennials
Eighty percent of workers indicate inclusion is important when choosing an employer. Some 53% of millennials would leave their current organisation for a more inclusive one and 30% have already done so. With new expectations and values placed on careers, millennials are challenging the traditional workplace and paving the way for a generation that expect far more from a job than just remuneration. A survey conducted with over 19,000 working millennials across 25 countries showed that new opportunities, better work life balance, a clear career path and recognition from managers and peers are more highly regarded by millennials than money.
- To unlock innovation
Eighty-five percent of enterprises agree that diversity results in the most innovative ideas. Non-diverse teams are likely to approach a problem from similar angles, ultimately narrowing the ability of the team to find possible solutions. Conversely, a diverse team is better equipped to approach a problem from various directions, shortening the time it takes to arrive at a suitable solution. It’s these differences in work ethic and world view between millennials and Gen Z, for example, that can truly help businesses; millennials are multi-taskers and have been described as educated, positive about tech, people-orientated, environmentally conscious, and progressive; while Gen Z is ambitious, tech savvy and entrepreneurial. Inclusive leaders can leverage this diversity to be more innovative.
- To outperform the competition
Recent research has shown that companies with inclusive practices in hiring, promotion, development, leadership, and team management generate up to 30% higher revenue per employee and greater profitability than their competitors. Diverse teams with inclusive leaders are 17% more likely to report that they are high performing, 20% more likely to say they make high-quality decisions, and 29% more likely to report behaving collaboratively; while a 10% improvement in perceptions of inclusion increases work attendance by almost 1 day a year per employee, reducing the cost of absenteeism.
- Remote working and a global workforce
Through globalisation, we see a wider and more diverse customer profile and today’s digital disruption alters the way we connect with them. It therefore pays to have a workforce that understands and communicates across national boundaries. According to Diversity Journal, “One of the realities of today’s workplace is the need for cross-cultural understanding in an increasingly global workplace.” Greater variety translates into employees with language skills and knowledge of cultural practices that can help build relationships and market share anywhere in the world.
With today’s business leaders operating in an increasingly complex global environment, the suite of 100% online Leadership and Management MScs from the University of York could be invaluable. Designed to build practical leadership skills and knowledge while developing a theoretical understanding of the business environment, the courses cover three key disciplines, innovation, finance, and international business. All of these help to develop the distinct skills required for effective leadership across industries, functions and roles.
The course is delivered 100% online and is designed for study at your own pace. You can choose to carry on in your existing career and fit studies around other commitments too. Six start dates a year, flexible payment options, and postgraduate government loans for those that are eligible, add to its flexibility.