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How Does Diversity Affect Business?
by Rehan Alimohammad and Mike Dobert
Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Diversity is defined as individuals representing more than one national origin, color, religion, socioeconomic echelon, gender, etc. Specifically, diversity may best be defined by any way in which we are different which includes the aforementioned, as well as influences in how we grew up such as generation impact, family influences, cultural beliefs and practices/celebrations, and Cognitive Diversity: Differences in perspective or information processing styles.

Fort Bend County, with approximately 685,000 people and on track to exceed 800,000 in the next five years, is widely considered one of the most diverse counties in the entire country with 64% of the current population considered minorities. What does this mean for businesses? How does this affect the bottom line?

With diverse backgrounds comes different thinking and greater creativity giving businesses a competitive advantage. So as businesses embrace this diversity through its ownership, management, and key employees, they would be more able to utilize this advantage.

McKinsey & Company’s research shows that gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform their peers and ethnically-diverse companies are 35% more likely to do the same. In the United States, there is a linear relationship between racial and ethnic diversity and better financial performance: for every 10 percent increase in racial and ethnic diversity on the senior-executive team, earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) rise 0.8 percent.

Catalyst research shows that companies with more women on the board statistically outperform their peers over a long period of time. “Mirroring the community can lead to a boost in productivity, customer satisfaction, and earnings.”

Deloitte Australia research shows that inclusive teams outperform their peers by 80% in team-based assessments. “Companies that embrace diversity and inclusion in all aspects of their business statistically outperform their peers. In today’s working world, your ability to attract and engage people of all ages, cultures, backgrounds, and types is paramount to your business success.”

Why?  Neurological research compiled by David Rock and others shows that our most productive, innovative, and collaborative times at work happen when we feel like we are a part of the team.  “People perform best when they feel valued, empowered, and respected by their peers. When we feel included and respected, our bodies create hormones and healthy energy that raises our performance at work.”

Research by Cedric Herring at the University of Chicago concluded that “Diversity yields superior outcomes over homogeneity because progress and innovation depends less on lone thinkers with high intelligence than on diverse groups working together and capitalizing on their individuality.”  His statistical research found that across hundreds of companies, diverse teams drive 6% greater revenue, 15% more customer wins, and create significantly higher market share.  These teams work better together, innovate more, and come up with superior customer solutions.”

The Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce has an initiative called the Diversity Action Team (DAT) comprised of members from diverse backgrounds and occupations to help ensure that the Chamber not only completely represents the county, but also to ensure that more businesses can take advantage of the benefits of the chamber making the county economically stronger. The DAT programs help educate the business community regarding diversity and its importance. Based on the above research, if Fort Bend is the most diverse county in the country than becoming the most successful county is next.

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