Why are Diversity and Inclusion so important?

Amelia Oddy  • 

As we enjoy the sunny skies of LGBT Pride month it gives us a motivation to reflect on how diverse and inclusive we are at Digital Fuel. Whilst pursuing diversity could be considered as an inclusive fad, the ultimate motivation for us is because it gives us an ethical and competitive advantage and makes our office a nice place to work for everyone.

There is mountains of evidence as to why diversity makes for more ideas, creativity and talent. I am grateful for being part of such an inclusive and diverse society but we still have some way to go. For millions of people, this is beyond the realms of reality. 

As a business the more diverse we are the more desirable we are, not only as a place for people to come and work, but also for profitability. Talented and creative people are our fuel, regardless of race, beliefs or orientation. If we are not actively seeking to diversify our workforce we are missing a trick as we are not maximising our talent, it is an essential aspect of a successful business. 

The 2018 Gallup Report on Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) defined diversity as "represent[ing] the full spectrum of human demographic differences" that could encompass gender and age, sexual orientation and ethnicity, religious class, disability, and education. Diversity encompasses other factors like opinions, lifestyles as well as personal characteristics, family history and much more. The concept is that workplaces should reflect the society we live in through its diversity and depth of knowledge.

It's not the end of the story. A diverse workplace doesn't just accept employees from different backgrounds, but also fosters an environment of mutual understanding, education and exploration of the ways in which these differences enhance the experience of everyone's work.

What about Inclusion?

Inclusion is a feeling of being accepted and is assessed by the degree to which employees are appreciated, valued and recognised. Within Digital Fuel our promotion of diversity can only be manifested in the representation within our team. Inclusion provides the crucial connections within the workplace that attract diverse talent, we work to encourage participation within our teams, foster innovation and create that feeling of belonging and respect for our colleagues. 

Although they are often lumped as one, diversity and inclusion should be considered as distinctly different concepts. The mere fact of having a multicultural workforce may be ineffective if employees do not feel at ease, respected and secure.

The business case 

The ethical argument to implement D&I is clear, however, there is an economic argument. McKinsey study of 2019 showed that companies that were in the top quartile in terms of the diversity of their genders and cultures had a profit of 25 per cent and 36 per cent more likely to achieve above-average profits. 

What is the reason why more diversity and inclusion lead to more profits? It all comes down to the ability to innovate. If employees feel secure, loved, valued and accepted, they are significantly more likely to communicate their thoughts. Teams with diverse members are better able to take smart decision-making in business. The more innovative ideas are created the more innovation there is. 

Diverse thinking is the key to innovation, and the power of cognitive agility has a profound impact on business development, especially in our sector. If everyone is thinking the same and coming up with the same ideas from the same perspective then there is no uplift collectively. 

However, if you have a team of people that thinks differently and possess diverse perspectives, you will maximise the number of thoughts your employees are producing. 

We are lucky as our business is led by a diverse management team and culturally, diversity and inclusion are at the foundation of our growth trajectory over the last 18 months. We have sought to harness diversity and creativity to reshape our future. We are a long way from perfect but as our CEO, Toby Oddy says;

“Being Neurodiverse myself and having discovered this for the first time 2 years ago. I am living proof that if businesses and society understand and harness diversity. We can deliver outstanding things within society and business.”

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