All throughout CERAWeek 2019, we’ve heard about the tremendous amount of challenges that can only be solved with innovation. To ensure we can truly be innovative, Laura Schafer and Bob Karschnia from Emerson conducted a session titled: How does diversity and inclusion improve innovation.
They started off by citing a few studies that illustrate the value diversity can bring. One study looked at companies in the top quartile and found that gender diverse companies were 15% more likely to out-perform financially. Similarly, ethnically diverse companies were 35% more likely to outperform financially.
They also illustrated the meaning of 2D diversity – having both inherent diversity and acquired diversity on teams. Inherent is the diversity you’re born with, including ethnicity and gender. Acquired is the diversity you gain from experience, such as working in a different company or being embedded in a specific market. Employees at companies with 2D diversity are 45% more likely to report a growth in market share over the previous year and 70% more likely to report that the company captured a new market.
Tips to bring in diversity and encourage inclusion:
- Enlist the support of your leadership and those in the majority
- Work with recruiting teams
- Advocate for diverse talent
- Examine succession plans for unconscious bias
Six behaviors to unlock innovation across the board
- Ensure everyone is heard
- Make it safe to propose novel ideas
- Give team members decision-making authority
- Share credit for success
- Give actionable feedback
- Implement feedback from the team
Once you have a diverse workforce, the work doesn’t stop there. Laura and Bob also emphasized the importance of how diverse employees are treated within the company culture. Leaders who give diverse voices equal airtime are nearly twice as likely as others to unleash value-driving insights. Employees in a “speak up” culture are 3.5 times as likely to contribute their full innovative potential.
In our industry, we know that innovation is the key to business success. To be innovative, it’s important to work with people who are different from you as they will challenge your brain and thought processes to overcome its stale ways of thinking, ultimately sharpening its performance.