A Business Case for Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

A Business Case for Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace


CEOs like to see the numbers.  If it doesn’t make money or save money, it can be hard to get their full attention.

Having a different perspective of background can take waste and turn it into revenue.  Remember Silly Putty?  GE inventor James Wright was trying to create the next rubber, but it was a toy seller named Peter Hodgson who realized its fun potential.  What James originally threw to the floor in frustration has created more than $6 million dollars in revenue, as Peter’s background in toys let him see it a different way.

Sarah Blakely is a self-made billionaire whose hosiery concept was originally turned down by every mil representative she talked to.  It took Highland Mills, whose CEO’s daughters convinced him of the product, to make her billion dollar idea a reality.

When you think of all the kooky products on the market, from flask neckties to the baby mop, these concepts come out of people’s life experiences.  When we also cross pollinate best practices across industries, like implementing lean manufacturing into healthcare, there’s a huge opportunity for profit, cost saving and customer satisfaction.  So, to get more possibilities, we need people with more diverse experiences that can create ideas which can lead to revenues.  More diversity = More opportunity.

The definition of inclusion is “the action or state of including or of being included within a group or structure”.  When people feel included, they no longer have to expend energy trying to be “in” the group.  The energy that would have been spent in discouragement and frustration can go towards making the customer happy, the group more dynamic and getting stronger results.  Inclusion = More Energy for Results = Opportunity for Innovation.

A cohort of researchers who wrote “Collective Genius,” a paper on leadership and innovation, found:

“All too often, leaders and their groups solve problems through domination or compromise, resulting in less than inventive solutions. Innovation requires integrating ideas—combining option A and option B, even if they once seemed mutually exclusive—to create a new and better option.”

Diverse people are like cup holders and strollers.  Once properly combined, there is an opportunity for sales magic and a new industry standard.

 -Dixie Agostino, CEO of Switchgear Search & Recruiting