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The Business Case for D&I: Diversity and inclusion can boost the bottom line

Article published by BCCJ Acumen, December 2013
Available in English and in Japanese

By Suzanne Price

I am constantly surprised by the number of conversations I have with organisations that are beginning to deliver diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiatives without having any sense of their business case for embarking on these measures. Therefore, I thought it relevant to offer some ideas on how to assess and articulate sound supporting reasons for D&I programmes within an organisation.

Taking the time to craft a convincing, company-specific business case is crucial. The chief executive needs to be able to sell the idea to senior executives in a way that allows them, in turn, to persuade their teams of the initiatives’ value to them and the firm. Below are five key areas to consider when assembling your business case.

Hiring the best from the widest talent pool

Firms want to attract the most talented people to join their workforces. But, what they often don’t realise is that they unconsciously eliminate more than half the available talent pool through bias in their selection processes, and by failing to convince diverse groups that they can have a thriving career in the organisation.

If candidates are not presented with convincing evidence that “someone like them” is doing well, they will vote with their feet.

Unconsciously, recruiters and hiring managers believe that, in their search, they are getting the best employee out there by looking for people who match what is typically a very limited success profile. Hiring managers tend to employ people like themselves, often because of affinity bias, while recruiters can be reluctant to put forth candidates who don’t fit this typical profile because they want a successful placement.

Appealing to a wide and diverse pool of talent increases the likelihood that you are truly hiring the best person available for the job.