by Dr. Niru Kumar
Founder and D & I Consultant, Ask Insights
An inclusive environment that values diversity will create stronger organizations – more likely to succeed
Greater diversity and inclusiveness will play a leading role in creating a more harmonious society. In such a society people of all genders, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, nationality, or religion will be equal partners. While such a society may seem a utopian paradise, holding the vision and dedicatedly working toward it is the key. During the previous century, hundreds of millions died in two scathing world wars while the majority of humanity was under colonial subjugation to European powers. Institutions such as the UN, whose success as a keeper of peace is considered debatable by many, have had success in creating a global narrative on the most important global issues. No such institution existed in prior centuries. The UN Human Rights Council has been created explicitly to protect human rights, while its success may well also be questioned. That there is today a definition of human rights, which was absent in centuries prior certainly bodes well for the realization of a more peaceful society.
Diversity Is the Key to Wealth
It was the economist David Ricardo who revealed the secret that makes countries rich. He showed to the world that rich countries were those which traded most with one another. A simple reason for this is that countries have a comparative advantage over other countries in the production of goods. Similarly, diversity in the workplace allows people who have different strengths to contribute to the success of the organization. It is no coincidence that some of the leading minds in technology are Indian despite relatively low standards of education in India when compared to those in developed countries. The benefits that Indian IT workers and leaders in the sphere of technology bring are understood by recruiters in the west. Indians, David Ricardo would say, have a comparative advantage in the development of software.
How Diversity Benefits Organizations
One of the reasons to have a diverse workforce is that it allows the sharing of a wide range of viewpoints. Such a wide range of viewpoints are more likely to allow companies to foresee challenges and take advantage of new opportunities.
A company that has a diverse workforce will be better able to identify new trends because it will have a workforce that represents its customers. A representative workforce will allow a company to understand what kind of products or marketing strategies will work with certain segments of consumers. Such a head start in identifying new trends and in understanding consumers makes diverse organizations more profitable.
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