A lot of progress has been made on diversity in the workplace over the past few decades, which is great for business. Companies with diverse teams are more innovative, productive and more representative of the customers they serve.

When we talk about diversity we mean the range of difference between employees – race, gender, ethnic group, personality, age, education and background.

Variety increases adaptability and access to a wider pool of ideas and experiences, helping businesses to meet the needs of their strategy and customers more effectively.

We’re proud of the diversity of our workforce at Holborn Assets and see the benefits. But don’t just take our word for it…

Diverse teams are more innovative

A recent study by the Technical University of Munich surveyed 171 companies to see how innovative and diverse they are. To get a sense of the levels of innovation within each company, they were asked how much of their revenue came from new products and services. Meanwhile, the diversity questions covered country of origin, age and gender, as well as other factors.

The results from the research were decisive – the team behind it found that the more diverse companies were, the more innovative they were too. It was also clear that the really innovative ones had diverse leadership too. Simply put, having a broad range of people from diverse backgrounds who all bring their own unique perspectives will help you to create more new and unique products and services for your customers.

Diverse teams better reflect their customer base

Talking of customers, it’s also clear that if you have a more diverse team, you’re probably going to be in with a better chance of running your business in a way that reflects the needs and concerns of those customers.

Creating that connection and that understanding between your own teams and your prospective customers is critical – but it also isn’t easy. So, it makes sense to have a diversity of views and backgrounds within your team – and to put together a group of people who are able to really get into the heads of your prospective customers and give them what they want.

There’s hard evidence to support this too. A 2013 study by the Center for Talent Innovation (CTI) in New York looked at 40 case studies and 1,800 employee surveys and identified the benefits of having employees who are both diverse in terms of gender and race, and in respect of their experience of the world and other languages. It found that teams that reflect the diverse make up of their customers were 158% more likely to understand them, and to innovate the kind of products they would want to buy. The same study also found that diverse businesses were 45 per cent more likely to have expanded market share and 70 per cent more likely to have captured new markets.

So, while promoting diversity should clearly be a priority for all of us, it’s clear that there are also very compelling business arguments for having more representative teams. As leaders, it’s our responsibility to make sure that the progress that is being made in this area continues. Thankfully gone are the times this was a ‘tick box’ exercise and we’re in an age where businesses that embrace diversity are richer for it.