The Link Between Diversity and Innovation

A recent survey suggests that nearly everyone believes that cultivating diversity in the workplace is critical for driving innovation.

Yesterday we looked at research showing the connection between innovation and diversity. Today we’ll look at the connection between diversity and the bottom line.

Reinforcement of the Concept

A little over 1 year ago, we published a similar article with similar findings that seem to have been reinforced by this more recent survey. The earlier findings appear in Bersin by Deloitte’s High-Impact Talent Management: The New Talent Management Maturity Model, and a companion report, High-Impact Talent Management: Maturity Model Benchmarks.

Let’s take a look at some of the highlights of those reports. To read the article, go here.

“Our study found that fully 70 percent of respondent organizations are at the lowest levels—Levels 1 and 2—of talent management maturity,” said Stacia Sherman Garr, vice president, talent and HR research, Bersin by Deloitte, Deloitte Consulting LLP. “By contrast, Level 3 organizations, which account for 19 percent of respondent organizations, have a relatively clear, data-based talent strategy. Those organizations at Level 4—considered the most advanced or mature organizations and account for just 10 percent of all organizations—have targeted, integrated and inclusive talent activities that heavily reinforce the importance of leader growth and a widespread learning culture. But what really differentiates them is their approach to diversity and inclusion.”

  • Develop a systemic—rather than a transactional—relationship with talent. Mature organizations view talent as an asset—rather than a cost—and develop an increased understanding of employees from both a quantitative and a qualitative perspective. These organizations also provide a mechanism for doing something with their insights. One way this happens is through the tighter integration between talent analytics and workforce planning and talent strategy.
  • Create a strong culture of leadership and learning. Approximately 90% of Level 3 and Level 4 organizations have a leadership strategy aligned to organizational objectives and cultivate a culture of learning in the organization to a great or moderate extent. These organizations are also more likely to invest in accelerated development programs for frontline managers, middle managers, and critical talent segments that drive a disproportionate share of key business outcomes and influence an organization’s value chain significantly.
  • Integrate leadership development activities with other talent processes. Existing leadership development initiatives for frontline and middle managers should be reassessed and better targeted to meet the unique needs of these learners and the broader organization. Leadership development efforts should also be integrated with all other talent processes. To do this effectively, the organization needs to shift from a concept of leadership development programs to a system of leadership growth—the idea that the growth of leaders occurs throughout the organization in many ways, not just through programs or special initiatives.