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Business Case for Diversity

The best way for an organisation to gain a competitive edge is through its people. People are the driving force for excellence. A competitor can copy your products, your services, your technology and your prices. But they cannot match your people. Successfully managed, diversity can be a strategic tool to build a stronger, more flexible organisation. An equitable workforce must be linked to business objectives. Diversity is not a social program to correct past injustices, nor does it involve quotas. It must protect the principle of merit to avoid tokenism or reverse discrimination. In many organisations, equality has traditionally equaled sameness. But this ignores fundamental differences between people. Diversity is not just about increasing visible differences in the workforce; it is about the strategic advantages that come from incorporating a wide variety of approaches and perspectives. Managing diversity is about creating an environment in which everyone can achieve his or her full potential. Employees are happier and more productive if they are appreciated and included, not assimilated or tolerated. Improved innovation and creativity are documented benefits of diversity. Teams that are diverse and inclusive find more innovative, feasible and effective ways to overcome challenges. They bring a variety of perspectives to a situation and thus offer a wider range of solutions. To accept diversity requires a change in corporate culture. Organisations need to embrace the fact that it is shared business values and a strong work ethic that makes an employee valuable, not whether they look the same or share a common history. To learn more about the many ways Diversity@work can help you improve your business by embracing diversity, contact: Stuart King Phone: (03) 9608 0900 Email:

Business Case
It has become increasingly apparent that appropriate management of a diverse workforce is critical for any organization that seeks to improve and maintain their competitive advantage. Focusing on diversity and looking for more ways to have a truly inclusive environment is not just a nice idea; it is good business sense that offers greater productivity and a competitive edge.

The following are a few key factors that make diversity initiatives important to your organization for reasons beyond social or moral responsibility:

Improves the Quality of your Workforce and Offers a higher return in your investment. Diversity initiatives can improve the quality of your OAs workforce and can be the catalyst for a better return on your investment in human capital. One of the biggest budget items in your organization is the amount you spend on human resources in the form of salaries, benefits, training, development and recruitment. Today, in order to get a healthy return on your investment in human capital and maximize your competitive advantage, it is important to recognize that the workforce will grow in the number of women, people of color and immigrants each year. You can improve your OAs competitive edge when you mirror the diverse communities throughout the nation that helps shape your OAs relationships with suppliers, customers and stakeholders.

Customer bases are more diverse than the workforce. Acknowledge the change in demographics that positions minorities as the majority in six out of the eight largest metropolitan areas of the United States today. Without a doubt, employees who reflect your customer base can benefit your OA by identifying and understanding their needs.

Results driven diversity initiatives will attract the best and the brightest . Your OAs future depends on the quality of your employees today. Effectively managing diversity helps you recruit and retain the best and the brightest. New recruits commonly factor in an organizations diversity efforts when deciding whether to accept or reject an employment offer. Qualified and interested

candidates are usually attracted to employers who are able to show that they are committed to sustaining a diverse workforce.

Different perspectives increase creativity. A diverse workforce can offer different perspectives, ideas and solutions, or devise new products and services that may generate new opportunities for your OA.

Diversity ensures survival. Managing a diverse workforce is a training ground that offers the ability to learn how to handle change effectively by adapting to new situations and learning from others who are different from us.

A check list to consider when preparing the business case for diversity in your OA:

What are the demographics of your customer/stakeholder base? How many languages are spoken by your customers, stakeholders? How much does your OA spend annually on recruitment? On Retention? How much have discrimination/harassment suits cost your organization in the past year?