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Everything you need to know about workplace diversity

Due to globalization and the resulting demographic change, the term diversity in the world of work has become increasingly important in recent years. Our society is becoming more and more diverse, which affects ways of life as well as working methods. Issues such as feminism, immigration, gender identity, and the gender pay gap in companies are increasingly the focus of politics and social discussions.

Success factor diversity management

The term diversity has many forms, including personal characteristics such as gender, sexual orientation, age and identity, ethnic origin or nationality, the level of education and knowledge as well as experience, world view or religion. Especially nowadays, in a global and dynamic work environment, the "Diversity Management" - which deals with the personal and social Diversity within organizations and which aims at the constructive use of a heterogeneous workforce - is becoming increasingly important. This is primarily due to the fact that companies are increasingly international and thus the interaction between employees with different cultural,

This knowledge and skills, which a diverse workforce brings with it, can be an important success factor for companies. The study "Diversity in the Workplace" by John Morgan and Felix Várdy, American Economic Review, shows that heterogeneous teams increase companies' economic performance and increase their innovative ability and customer focus.

How Diversity affects the world of work

Diversity is not only important from an ethical perspective, but it can also give companies decisive competitive advantages to lead. Above all, a company's creativity and innovative ability can be increased by a team consisting of employees from different countries of origin. This can be attributed to the fact that such cooperation involves culturally specific knowledge and has a significant impact on the results - for example, people of different nationalities solve problems in different ways and are also often more willing to take risks. In particular, employees' different perspectives and skills can further develop, restructure, and improve established processes within a company. This process is essential to promote a company's competitiveness in the market and to keep it from standing still.

McKinsey's "Delivering through Diversity" study, which has shown a statistical connection between Diversity in organizations and above-average economic performance, also confirms the increased productivity through heterogeneous teams. As a result, employees need to have relevant attitudes and skills to interact effectively with colleagues as well as stakeholders from different cultural and social backgrounds.

Increased net sales due to gender diversity

But not only cultural diversity but also gender-specific Diversity is a decisive success factor for companies. Women are often underrepresented, especially at management levels. It is particularly important here to incorporate different ways of thinking and skills. Scientific studies such as "The Credit Suisse Gender 3000: the Reward for Change" and "When Gender Diversity Makes Firms More Productive" by Harvard Business Review show that companies that have increased their share of female management positions have been able to increase their net sales and are more innovative and acted more customer-oriented.

It becomes clear that anchoring and promoting Diversity within corporate culture has become an important strategic issue for management. It enables companies to remain competitive, innovative, and open to a dynamic market environment, which, in turn, is critical to successful digital transformation is.

Diversity as part of the corporate culture

A company's success often depends on its ability to exploit the potential and the advantages that diversity brings optimally. Companies also benefit from this when it comes to recruiting and retaining staff when Diversity and inclusion are an integral part of the corporate culture. This means that they should be promoted in the form of initiatives and lived as a basic attitude in everyday work. They can lead to employees being happier and more motivated and thus delivering better results. Mutual and comprehensive understanding and employees' ability to take a different perspective are essential for successful and effective cooperation, especially within diverse working groups.

Six good reasons to adopt Diversity at work

The impact of Diversity at work has been the subject of numerous research studies. Since the vast majority of them have not been validated, their conclusions may well be contested. Nevertheless, taken as a whole and supported by case studies, this work seems convincing to us.

In order to explain the interest of Diversity at work, we started from the traditional service-profit chain model, to transform it into a diversity-profit chain. This model describes how diversified management influences the main organizational factors.


According to a study carried out in 2004, how knowledge heterogeneity influences managerial performance and innovativeness when a Management presents a high level of diversity in terms of culture and ethnic origins, the company generally records better performances. A similar dynamic can be found in the 2009 meta-analysis, which reveals that the diversified teams are more innovative and are better able to meet deadlines and allocated budgets.

Employee engagement

As a study by Gallup shows, Diversity generates greater satisfaction among employees. 60% of people working for a culturally diverse company said they felt involved in their position. The contrast with less diversified companies is clear: only 11% of employees feel some involvement.

In terms of economic profitability and customer satisfaction, employee involvement plays a major role. In the Service Management 3.0: Linking Employee and Customer Engagement study, we reported on the correlation between employee engagement, customer satisfaction, and profits. Likewise, the employees involved are more productive, and companies with a strong commitment record higher profits.

This is how Aon Hewitt came to the following conclusion: companies with a high engagement rate generate a return for shareholders 22% higher than the average. A separate study conducted in 2012 showed that companies with a high level of involvement were 4.2 times more likely to generate profits than their competitors.

Employee sick leave and retention

Diversity would generate a higher retention rate and fewer sick leaves. In this regard, our study, entitled Diversity in Outsourcing, reveals that the number of sick leaves and the turnover of managers are twice higher among employees born in Denmark than among those from other countries. In general, we found that the loyalty rate was higher within diverse teams.

Attracting talent

Diversity at work is an attraction for talent. A Danish study carried out by Stepstone in 2013 reveals that 60% of new generation applicants are attracted to companies with diverse profiles. For these candidates, it is "important," even "very important," that the workplace is open to everyone, regardless of nationality, religion, sexual orientation, gender, or disability.


The Harvard Business Review has published a study explaining how Diversity in Management stimulates innovation and promotes market growth. Other studies also show that the more diverse the company's workforce, the more the company has access to new perspectives: new patents, solving complex problems, innovation, etc.

Services and clients

Diversity gives rise to a better vision of the market and thus makes it possible to adapt the services to the target audience. In return, a more precise vision of the market is synonymous with higher profits. In 2014, Gallup conducted a survey of 800 divisions of two large service companies and found that the divisions with a diverse workforce earned 19% more than the others. Again, this confirms that a diversified management results in a more customer-oriented approach.


The impact of Diversity is felt at all levels of a business. In a diverse environment, employees feel more involved, and their retention rate increases while the number of sick leaves decreases. The context attracts more talent, the services provided are of better quality, and the customer experience is optimized.

Even if Diversity should in no case be envisaged as a single solution for improving performance, the results are nonetheless undeniable: in a companyWorkplace diversity, diversified management tilts the balance of financial results on the bright side.

Author: Vicki Lezama

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