Research shows that diversity in the workplace drives 19% more revenue and increases company performance by 35%.

Therefore, you will likely have trouble effectively managing a business, promoting leadership and ensuring success if you aren’t investing in your workforce on a more personal level.

In order to do that, brands need to listen to what their employees are telling them. And in this day and age, people are demanding more and more workplace diversity.

It’s 2019, after all. We are living in a world that is full of diversity — from race and religion to culture, sex, gender and beyond.

The workplace should reflect those differences.

Culturally Diverse Companies Succeed Business Leadership

We at DesignRush were curious about how many companies actually invest in diversity initiatives.

We also wanted to learn more about the companies implementing these programs, and the leadership opportunities that have blossomed as a result.

So we surveyed 228 full-time employees ages 25-70 across America to learn more about the state of diversity and business leadership in the country today.

In general, almost everyone surveyed agreed that there is a definitive need for more diversity in the leadership, from the ground up.

But what does diversity in the workplace truly mean?

Gender Diversity Graph Business Leadership

Gender Diversity Is Still A Work In Progress

There is still some disparity when it comes to gender diversity in the workplace, with a significant number of respondents saying that management isn’t equally represented by all genders.

  • 34.2% disagree to some degree that their company’s management represents all genders equally
  • 65.8% agreed that their company adequately represented all genders equally

Those numbers are still big enough to cause alarm — and brands should take note.

Cultural Diversity Graph Business Leadership

Cultural Diversity In Leadership Needs Continued Investment

26% agree and 17% agree strongly that their management represents diverse cultures equally.

But 40% of respondents disagreed that all cultures were accurately and equally represented.

That shows a clear discrepancy in what people are calling for in the workplace and what actually exists. In these politically charged times, employees want the businesses that they work for to start bringing in more culturally, racially and ethnically diverse employees and leaders.

Sexual Harassment Infographic Business Leadership

Sexual Harassment Remains Underdiscussed

Most surveys point to the notion that sexual harassment is still very much so a problem in the workplace, with 81% of women reporting having experienced sexual harassment while on the job.

But our survey shows that employees feel — at least on the surface — that it doesn’t play a role in their office.

76% of respondents don’t think their workplace has a problem with sexual harassment.

However, 41% of people think that more diversity in the workplace can relieve lingering sexual harassment problems.

In fact, additional research shows that most employees believe that the answer to sexual in the workplace is hiring more women for leadership roles.

That’s in almost direct response to a Harvard Business Review study that showed increased numbers of sexual harassment in companies where men hold a majority of leadership roles.  

An investment in diversity fosters more safe spaces for women in the workplace, therefore businesses need to continue investing in these initiatives in order to succeed.

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Companies That Are Doing Diversity Right

According to Thompson Reuters, these are the 10 most diverse companies as of 2018.

  1. Accenture PLC
  2. Novartis AG
  3. Medtronic PLC
  4. Diageo PLC
  5. Gap Inc
  6. Telecom Italia SpA
  7. Kering SA
  8. Natura Cosmeticos SA
  9. L’Oreal SA
  10. Acciona SA

These diversity rankings are based on a number of factors relating to inclusion and diversity. The survey evaluates the growth opportunities for members of all:

  • Races
  • Religions
  • Cultures, and
  • Genders

in a given company.

It also evaluates the initiatives each company takes in fostering a positive, diverse workplace with varying genders, cultures and beyond.

This includes launching specific action groups within the company that employees can be a part of, it also includes incorporating workshop and discussion sessions where employees can speak openly and freely about key topics and issues.

All in all, there is a link between the investment in diversity exhibited throughout these companies and their success opportunities — further promoting the need for brands to do more to diversify and become more inclusive.

Diverse Companies Generate Revenue Business Leadership

Employees Want More Diversity In The Workplace — But Aren’t Quite Sure How Or What That Means

This survey clearly told us that full-time employees in America are on the same page when it comes to calling for more diversity — both cultural and gender — in the workplace.

But what is also clear by the varied responses is that nobody quite knows what a diverse workforce really means.

For instance, more than half of those surveyed think that the business world as a whole — as in, companies that are not their own — need to invest more in diversity initiatives.

And yet, more than half of those surveyed believe that their own companies champion both gender and cultural diversity.

Here is a more in-depth look at our 2019 business diversity survey:

  • 63.16% of full-time workers believe that diversity in the workplace should encompass employees and leaders of different genders and different cultures.

  • 21.05% of respondents somewhat agree that their company represents all genders equally, while 24.56% agree and 20.18% strongly agree.

  • Meanwhile, 10.96% somewhat disagree that their company represents all genders equally, 12.28% disagree, and 10.96% strongly disagree.

  • 17.98% of respondents somewhat agree that their company represents diverse cultures equally. 26.32% agree and 17.11% strongly agree.

  • 14.91% of respondents somewhat disagree that their company represents diverse cultures equally. 13.6% disagree and 10.09% strongly disagree.

  • 80.26% of full-time employees do not care which gender their manager or executive is, as long as they are competent. 3.95% prefer female leadership, 4.39% prefer gender neutral or non-confirming leadership, and 11.4% prefer male leadership.  

  • 47.37% said that the managers and executives at their company range from mostly to 100% male. 35.09% of respondents said the managers and executives at their company are about half male leadership and half female leadership. 17.54% said that the managers and executives at their company range from mostly to 100% female.

  • 18.42% of full-time employees disagree to some degree that diverse leadership creates a positive company culture, while 81.58% agree that diverse leadership can create a positive company culture.

  • 46.05% of respondents believe that their company leaders are qualified, 40.35% believe their company leaders are somewhat qualified, and 11.84% do not believe their leaders are qualified for their positions.

  • 42.54% of full-time worked believe that gender-diverse leadership helps companies perform better and generate more revenue. 36.4% somewhat believe and 19.74% do not believe that gender-diverse leadership helps businesses perform better.

  • 45.18% believe that culturally diverse leadership helps companies perform better and generate more revenue, while 34.21% somewhat believe and 18.42% do not believe that culturally diverse leadership helps companies perform better.

  • 76.32% of respondents do not believe their company has a problem with sexual harassment in the workplace. 11.4% somewhat believe their workplace does, and 10.09% believe their workplace has a problem with sexual harassment in the workplace.

  • However, 40.36% of full-time employees surveyed believe that diverse leadership could alleviate sexual harassment in the workplace to some degree.

  • 57.89% of respondents wish to see more diverse leadership in roles at other companies that are not their own, 21.05% somewhat wish to see more diverse leadership at other companies, and 17.98% do not wish to see more diverse leadership at other companies.

So, what does all this mean?

That there needs to be an increased investment in diversity education. This way, everyone is clear as to what diversity truly means in the workplace.

With this, more people can get involved, making the world as a whole a more open and inclusive place — inside the workplace and out.

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What Brands Can Do About Cultural & Gender Diversity

It’s very obvious that employees want more diversity in their workplace — from their peers to their leaders and beyond.

But there is some disparity as to how brands can get there.

While some members of the workforce think companies have already achieved complete gender and cultural diversity throughout their ranks, it is obvious that there is still room to grow.

In order to drive success and innovation, brands need to invest in diversity initiatives that ensure everyone is on the same page, happy and motivated.

This means that brands need to do more to hire diverse employees and roll out diversity workshops, groups and more to foster a feeling of positivity in the workplace.

Brands need to listen to their employees and constantly look towards the future and see how they can improve.

Because even once brands achieve diversity, there is still more to do, learn and understand to continue driving success.

Want help creating a diverse workplace that will propel your brand forward? Check out the top consulting firms on DesignRush to find your next great partner. 

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