In case you needed another reason to push for diversity at your workplace, a new report by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd. concludes that inclusive firms are more successful than their monochromatic counterparts.

According to the consulting firm’s “Outcomes over optics: Building inclusive organizations” report, not only are highly inclusive firms are likely to report revenue growth and create jobs than their less inclusive counterparts, they’re also more likely to believe their organizations are capable of overcoming significant challenges by a more than two-to-one margin (91 per cent versus 40 per cent). They’re also more than twice as likely to increase their R&D spending (49 per cent versus 22 per cent).

In a Nov. 22 statement, Deloitte Canada managing partner and chief executive Frank Vettese said that Canadian businesses were facing a “perfect storm” of forces — global competition, disruptive technology, and significant demographic changes — pushing them to maximize the value of their employees, and that companies which did not adopt a more inclusive workplace culture were putting their survival – and the country’s – at risk.

“As a country we have made significant strides in diversity and inclusion, but this progress is not reflected in our businesses,” he said. “We have reached a critical point. There is consensus among the 25 industry leaders we interviewed that more needs to be done and we can’t afford to wait.”

Essentially, Deloitte found that while progress has been made to increase corporate Canada’s diversity, too many businesses rely on outdated approaches, making true inclusion elusive – despite the federal government’s efforts to bring more immigrants into the country than ever.

“As other countries turn inward, Canada’s doors remain open to the world’s talents and skills,” Vettese said in the Nov. 22 statement. “I believe this is a watershed moment in our history and an opportunity to raise the bar higher on inclusion.”

Five ways Canadian firms can be more inclusive

Deloitte itself has struggled in the past to harness the diversity of its own workforce, Vettese noted, ultimately putting five concrete actions into practice that the report notes any business leader can take:

  1. Set expectations for specific, inclusive leadership behaviours such as development programs.
  2. Protect against a diversity backlash by focusing on every member of your workforce.
  3. Leverage millennials – the “inclusion generation” – to prepare for your workplace of the future.
  4. Don’t leave diversity and inclusion issues for future generations to solve; be critical of current systems for managing and develop talent, and make sure they’re not unwittingly perpetuating biases.
  5. Own inclusion inside and outside the office – that is, walk the talk both at work and in the community.

“I am particularly proud that this year, the new partners we admitted to our firm are representative of our society and our clients,” Vettese said. “It took us some time to get to this point, but we were relentless in our efforts and there is no turning back.”

The full report can be read here.

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