Originally published: July 11, 2017
Diverse, inclusive companies are more successful than those that do not nurture diversity. International research by McKinsey shows that gender diverse companies are 15% more likely to produce financial returns above their national industry medians, while ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to outperform.
“Diversity should not merely be a compliance exercise to meet the needs of employment equity legislation and it should encompass a range of dimensions,” says Kimberley Axon, head of people services at Sage Africa & Middle East. “Gender, race and ethnicity are important considerations in a country with South Africa’s history but businesses also need to look at dimensions such as sexual orientation, religion, age and even personality type.
Gerrard Foster, director at Project Fable, an African insights and content design company, adds that diversity is critical in the connected economy because it gives organisations access to a workforce with a wider spread of creative ideas and ensures they are in tune with the needs of a diverse customer base. A diverse workforce brings the problem-solving skills and creativity businesses need as they move from an industrial to a digital economy.