With our rapidly evolving, multicultural society, expect diversity in your workforce to be critical in developing a succession plan that will add value to your business.
Diverse workplaces are becoming more common and they are regarded as demonstrating enlightened leadership. Companies that are already advanced in this area could garner a higher valuation. Many organizations that have a strategy for diversity are already reaping the rewards that it offers – results that shareholders and prospective buyers appreciate:
- They are hiring the best and the brightest without concern for race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender or age. Taking a liberal approach, they are winning the war on talent, attracting and retaining top people from many walks of life. A large part of a company’s success is the collective minds, abilities and skills that have made the business prosper.
- Innovation is enhanced when you have a multiplicity of people. Einstein said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” To get different thinking, you need to look at the problem from different perspectives.
- An inclusive workforce tends to be a more engaged workforce. Engagement is an antidote to carelessness, low morale, poor productivity, and a dysfunctional business.
- Diversity at the executive level will attract different people to your organizations. Companies that don’t have different groups represented in their senior management team will give the impression that advancement is limited to those with a similar makeup. Whether it’s true or not, perception will send a message that some groups have an unfair advantage so they won’t even apply for the job.
- Members of diverse groups can help you gain access to new markets – markets that are growing faster than traditional markets. According to Statistics Canada 2011, the Indigenous population increased by 20.1% compared to 5.2% of non-Indigenous population from 2006-2011. Currently 1 in 7 people in Ontario are disabled and that number is expected to change to 1 in 5 over the next 20 years.  In Toronto, nearly 50% of the population was not born in Canada. Estimates put the buying power of the LGBT community at over $800 billion annually in the US. Employees who are members of these groups will help you relate respectfully to those growing markets.
Take a strategic approach to diversity within your succession plan. Make a commitment from the top. Done well, it will help your company to continue to grow, flourish and become more valuable.
Disabled World, 2010
Business Insider June 2013