The Benefits of a Diverse Workforce in Business

StrategyDriven Diversity and Inclusion Article |Diverse Workforce|The Benefits of a Diverse Workforce in BusinessThe debate over diversity in the workplace is one that has taken up acres of newsprint across the years, and which remains a hot button issue through to the present. It’s not one we’re going to solve here, but it is worth looking at some of the reasons diversity is considered to be so important. It’s not just a matter of ticking boxes, as you’ll see below.

Diversity of background brings diversity of thought

While there is nothing objectively wrong with hiring from the same talent pool each time you bring someone in, the absence of diversity can hurt a business in terms of results. If you have a team of six people, and all six grew up in the same kind of area, had the same education and the same life experiences, there’s a decent chance – though not a certainty – that they’ll think the same way about problem solving. Really, you want a Plan B, and ideally C and D too, so a range of experiences helps.

A broader conversation helps everyone learn

If done organically, the building of a diverse workforce means that people who aren’t ordinarily exposed to a certain way of thinking can have their horizons broadened. This is as true for the perceived “outsider” as it is for the “insiders”. Everyone can gain some insight into another way of doing things, and it makes a business stronger.

Over time, bias can be corrosive

It is somewhat natural that people will seek out others like them in a lot of scenarios, whether that’s two white men gravitating towards another in a mixed group, or two fans of the same singer or radio station. That can be beneficial for harmony, but if it is reinforced over years and even generations it can lead to a business that is not prepared for a changing world. The infographic below explains how diversity can boost a business, and why it is important.

Infographic Design By Ezra Coaching

The Diversity Dividend: How Balancing Your Leadership Team Can Pay Off

The call for greater diversity at senior leadership levels is not new, although it has itself become more inclusive, extending beyond gender, race and ethnicity, to encompass age, education, socioeconomic background and sexual orientation, as well as experience, skills and talent.

It is also not news that diversifying leadership teams can pay financial dividends for corporations. As early as 2004, research by Catalyst, Inc. showed a significant positive correlation between financial performance and female representation at the executive leveli with female Board representation having an even stronger effect.

Most recently, a new international study by McKinsey & Co.ii showed that companies with gender diverse leadership are 15% more likely to report financial returns above their national industry median, while those with ethnically diverse leadership were 35% more likely to have financial returns that outpace their industry. Sadly, none of the 366 public companies surveyed stood out as leaders on both gender and ethnic diversity axis together.

In spite of the long-established case for balancing executive teams, the C-Suite has remained stubbornly homogeneous. Only 4.6% of chief executives of S&P 500 companies are women, and there are just six black CEOs of Fortune 500 companies currently.iii Progress has been made, but slowly and inconsistently. In their recent study mentioned above, for example, McKinsey & Co. notes that women now represent about 16% of executive teams in U.S. companies overall, calling that “measurable progress” but acknowledging that women remain underrepresented at senior levels globally.

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About the Author

Kim VilleneuveDr. Kim Villeneuve is CEO of Centerstone Executive Search and Consulting, a nationally retained firm serving the consumer sector. Centerstone specializes in executive search and leadership consulting concentrated at the Board Director and Executive Officer level. Kim is also a coach for elite executives, an adjunct professor at American University’s Kogod School of Business, and guest lecturer at The George Washington University, from which she holds a doctorate in Human and Organizational Learning. Contact Kim at [email protected] or at 425-836-8445.


i. “The Bottom Line: Connecting Corporate Performance and Gender Diversity” January 15, 2004 Catalyst, Inc.
ii. “Why Diversity Matters” By Vivian Hunt, Dennis Layton, and Sara Prince McKinsey, & Co. January 2015
iii. “Is there a diversity dividend?” Linda Yueh, Chief Business Correspondent, BBC News January 25, 2015
iv. World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, January 2015

Examining the State of the U.S. STEM Workforce: Today and Tomorrow

One of the major STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) debates currently underway today in the United States revolves around whether or not there is, in fact, a STEM workforce shortage in the country.

To further examine the myth versus reality discussion, this year’s Bayer Facts of Science Education survey, the 16th in the series, polled talent recruiters at Fortune 1000 companies both STEM and non-STEM alike, about their companies’ current and future STEM workforce supply and demand needs. We chose talent recruiters as the target for our survey because these are the people on the front lines of the STEM shortage argument.

Several trends emerged in the survey.

1. STEM Degree Holders are ‘As’ or ‘More In Demand’ for both STEM and Non-STEM Jobs.

Today, STEM skills are in demand by employers for jobs that are traditionally considered non-STEM, with demand for two- and four-year graduates equipped with these skills exceeding demand for their counterparts who don’t have these skills.

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About the Author

Laurel Rutledge is the vice president of Human Resources for Bayer MaterialScience LLC. She is responsible for providing human resources strategic leadership to meet the challenges and objectives of the business. The Bayer Facts of Science Education is an ongoing public opinion research project commissioned by Bayer since 1995 as part of the company’s award-winning Making Science Make Sense® (MSMS) initiative. For more information about this survey or other Bayer surveys, please visit

StrategyDriven Podcast Special Edition 5 – An Interview with Michael Gurian, author of Leadership and the Sexes

StrategyDriven Podcasts focus on the tools and techniques executives and managers can use to improve their organization’s alignment and accountability to ultimately achieve superior results. These podcasts elaborate on the best practice and warning flag posts on the StrategyDriven website.

Special Edition 5 – An Interview with Michael Gurian, author of Leadership and the Sexes examines the equal but different intelligence of men and women. During our discussion, Michael Gurian, author of Leadership and the Sexes and co-founder of the Gurian Institute, shares with us his insights regarding:

  • the intellectual differences between men and women and the impact these differences have on how each gender leads
  • the quantifiable impact of an organization’s gender intelligence on the bottom line
  • how executives and managers can assess the gender intelligence of their organizations

Additional Information

Complimenting the tremendous insights Michael shares in Leadership and the Sexes and this special edition podcast, are the additional gender intelligence materials and resources found on his website, Gurian Institute ( Michael’s book, Leadership and the Sexes, can be purchased by clicking here.

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor | Michael GurianMichael Gurian, New York Times best selling author of Leadership and the Sexes, is co-founder of the Gurian Institute, a training organization focused on helping corporations, educators, parents, and communities understand of how the male and female brain operate differently. He has spearheaded a national effort to provide communities and corporations with training in brain based gender issues. Michael’s pioneering theory has been featured in leading national media including The New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Time, and Newsweek. To read Michael’s full biography, click here.

Organizational Accountability – Performance = Results + Behaviors

StrategyDriven Organizational Accountability ArticleOrganizational accountability is built on the premise that individuals are equitably rewarded based on their contribution to the accomplishment of the organization's goals consistent with its ethical values. Performance, therefore, becomes more than just 'making the numbers.'

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