Business Case for Diversity

In 2005/06 and again in 2008/09, consultants now with the Diversity Practice were invited by the European Commission to conduct research into the Business Case for Diversity.


The first project, “The Business Case for Diversity in the Workplace” (2005-2006) engaged with large private sector companies across Europe to draw out examples of good diversity in the workplace practices and the evidence to support the business case for diversity and inclusion in the workplace. The study found an increasing number of European companies were adopting diversity and equality strategies, not only for ethical and legal reasons but also for the business benefits they are expected to deliver. Among the most important of these benefits are enhanced employee recruitment and retention from a wider pool of high quality workers, improved corporate image and reputation, greater innovation and enhanced marketing opportunities.

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The second project “Diversity and Innovation – a Business Opportunity for All” (2008-2009) focused on the relationship between diversity, innovation, and productivity, providing the rationale for the linkages as well as case study examples drawn from a range of large multinational businesses. As innovation processes depend on harnessing creativity, and while dynamic as well as supportive systems of management can elicit the best from staff, like-minded people will usually produce like-minded results. Diversity in the workforce can, however, help companies to break this mould and the cycle of limited unilateral thinking and, in so doing, set them free to discover new products, markets, and ways of doing or leading business. The research here indicates that increasing numbers of companies are, indeed, recognising this.

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