Diversity and inclusion – what’s in it for companies?

Elina Sonninen (parental leave)

It is finally May, and we start it by celebrating European Diversity Month. We at the Confederation of Finnish Industries want to join in by emphasizing why diversity and inclusion are a key element of business success. In this blog, I want to highlight 5 benefits that companies gain from implementing diversity and inclusion (D&I) at the workplace and why diversity should be at the core of your business.   

  1. Attract and retain the best talent

    To stay ahead of the competition and succeed in the long-term, companies need to think of a new battle plan. With ever increasing shortage of labor, companies cannot afford to lose top talent because of discrimination. In addition, new generations entering the labor market are putting more emphasis on how companies manage D&I. Employees from all walks of life are needed also in reaching companies’ ambitious targets for carbon neutrality.  
  2. Increase profitability

    A McKinsey & Company “Diversity wins: How inclusion matters” report finds that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 25 percent more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile. Even though the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is challenging and takes its toll on businesses, it is good to keep in mind that diverse teams can recover better and adapt quicker after a crisis. After the pandemic, it is likely that the companies that have considered diversity and inclusion as a strategic asset, are in good position for growth and renewal.  

  3. Answer to customers’ rising expectations

    As with many other topics, customers’ expectations with regards to diversity are growing. In order for companies to cater to the needs of their increasingly varied group of customers, they themselves need to be diverse. Companies that position diversity and inclusion to the core of their business, can also innovate better and reach new customer segments.  

  4. Diverse teams innovate better

    Employees from different backgrounds tend to bring different ideas to the table, compared to a homogenous group of people. Multiple perspectives lead to more innovative thinking and yield better results that help the business grow. Diverse teams also challenge their fellow team members’ more and offer new perspectives which in turn makes us more aware of our potential biases 

  5. Improve employee experience

    Diversity and inclusion should not only be considered in the recruitment stage, which is also vital, but rather throughout all phases of the employee journey. Along the way, during recruitment, onboarding and development, the company should include a strong emphasis on D&I to increase employee motivation and retain talent. Important aspects to consider from diversity perspective are for example employee engagement, communication, and personal development opportunities. Commitment to diversity from top management is a good start, but most of all, employees need to see actions behind the commitments. 

As Helena Dalli, the Commisioner for Equality at the European Commission, summarized it in the European Diversity Month’s launch event, “Diversity is our strenght and one of our greatest assets towards building a sustainable future.” Indeed, it is a key ingredient for successful long-term business.    

Confederation of Finnish Industries believes that every job deserves the best doer and has launched an initiative, Work Does Not Discriminate, few years ago. Already over 450 companies, that want to create a truly equal work culture in Finland, have joined.