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How Does Inclusive Culture Boost Company Performance?

Workplace diversity is the engine that will help your company operate more smoothly.

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The competitive edge of businesses large and small is significantly impacted by the diversity of their employees. Diversity in the workplace is not only the right thing to do, it can also be the engine that helps drive company growth.

Achieving diversity in the workplace requires an out-of-the-box approach to hiring. Consistently looking beyond the resume to more intangibles such as personality, drive and passion. Also, considering candidates who might not have industry experience, but have more diverse backgrounds that can help advance innovation in the company.

Related: 5 Ways to Ensure You Have True Diversity Within Your Business

As co-founder of a payment processing company, I have seen first-hand how diverse, inclusive teams create business value, driving organizational performance and resilience. Diverse personal and professional backgrounds mean people will have different strengths and experiences. It also means the business will become an incubator for fresh ideas and innovation. The best way to achieve this diversity is to never be limited to the same old, tired talent pool. It's often by looking in different, unexpected places that I find the most driven, high-performing individuals.

I never expect my team to be duplicates of each other, and I'm not interested in doing things the same way as everyone else in my industry. Unlike our peers, I don't implement degree or industry experience requirements for any position. Instead, I personally assess every candidate first and foremost for personality, culture-fit and dedication — regardless of professional or socioeconomic background. In fact, 90 percent of our team is without any previous payments industry experience.

This has resulted in an unparalleled company culture with a diverse and engaged workforce that feels valued for their hard work and creativity. At my company, 60 percent of our employees are diverse minorities and 30 percent are women. There is no doubt that fostering a diverse workplace creates a culture that encourages and supports the creative thinking that is key to supercharging company growth. This diversity and culture of inclusion has been key to our explosive growth rate of 8,000 percent since the company was founded in 2017. The growth-enhancing power of a diverse workforce yields gains in the four critical areas of innovation, productivity, profitability and talent attraction and retention.

Driving innovation

Diversity is an essential driver of business innovation and creativity. Diverse teams unlock creativity and advancements through a wider range of perspectives, unique viewpoints and a host of fresh ideas, all of which add value to decision making and problem solving. This added value and wider knowledge in turn can drive business growth by revealing untapped opportunities and markets to dive into.

In fact, the World Economic Forum Diversity, Equity and Inclusion 4.0 report suggests that companies with diverse employees have "up to 20 percent higher rate of innovation and 19 percent higher innovation revenues."

Increasing productivity

Diverse workplaces create an environment that increases productivity through greater employee motivation, engagement and job satisfaction. A diverse and inclusive work environment allows for the free exchange of ideas. It is also an opportunity for employees of different backgrounds to learn from each other, which makes teams more innovative and productive.

Diverse perspectives to ongoing problems also provide innovative solutions to industry-wide issues. Through implementing these fresh solutions, productivity goes up across the board.

Boosting profitability

As noted, embracing diversity in the workplace generates greater creativity and innovation. That creativity and innovation ultimately translates into a competitive edge for companies in the form of higher profits.

A McKinsey study found that "the most diverse companies are now more likely than ever to outperform non-diverse companies on profitability." The 2019 study revealed that companies in the top quartile of ethnic and cultural diversity outperformed those in the bottom quartile by 36 percent in terms of profitability.

The study noted that "the business case for [inclusion and diversity] as a source of competitive advantage is growing stronger. Increasingly, we find that the most diverse companies recognize [inclusion and diversity] as more than a social-justice imperative; they also see it as a core enabler of growth and value creation. These diversity winners are pulling ahead of the rest."

Related: Diversity and Technology Have the Power to Boost Business Revenues

Elevating talent attraction and retention

Diversity can also elevate company talent recruiting and retention efforts.

Companies that create diverse and inclusive workplaces are more successful in attracting top talent. That's because job searchers are increasingly evaluating diversity when researching companies. According to a recent survey conducted by recruiting site Glassdoor, 76 percent of job seekers and employees report that a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers.

Employee retention also gets a boost from diversity in the workplace. The mix of different skill sets, backgrounds and experiences in a diverse workplace creates an environment of acceptance and belonging. Employees can learn from one another and effectively collaborate with each other, which leads to happier employees and lower turnover rates.

Related: How to Rethink Diversity for the Corner Office

As a catalyst for business growth, diversity strengthens companies by providing a significant return on investment in the areas of innovation, productivity, profitability and talent attraction and retention. There is no question that diversity is good for society and good for business — it helps both grow and become more resilient to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.

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