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Winning with diversity: Smart businesses understand its potential impact

November 1, 2016

Organizations can prosper when their workforce reflects society’s changing demographics.


Bringing diversity to the workplace has become an imperative for businesses that want to be market leaders. A majority of Fortune 500 firms have a diversity officer in an executive role, and 90 percent of them have employee resource groups or similarly tasked internal programs that address the opportunities and challenges of a workforce reflecting differences in areas such as ethnicity, age, gender and sexual orientation.

No wonder. Cultivating diversity makes solid business sense. Among the potential benefits when your employees mirror the world around them: an increase in creative solutions, an expansive perspective that better serves target markets and internal benefits that include an edge in recruiting talent.

Let’s not forget the potential financial payoff. A 2015 report from a top global management consulting firm found that companies with diverse executive boards have higher earnings and return on equity; those in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to outperform those in the bottom quartile; and those in the top quartile for gender diversity were 15 percent more likely to report similar success.

That said, diversity alone may not be enough. Many organizations also embrace the concept of inclusion. Think of it this way: What’s the point of recruiting people to join your team if they spend most of their time sitting on the bench, watching from the sidelines? Market leaders are leveraging diversity by embracing an inclusionary mindset that includes:

  • Valuing the breadth of their employees’ diverse backgrounds and experience
  • Respecting different points of view, which mirror the larger world of their customers
  • Actively engaging and empowering employees to make business contributions


A two-year study of more than 450 global companies reported a high correlation between strong business performance and an inclusive talent system. These firms reported higher cash flow, nearly twice the rate of innovation in their respective markets, and a business culture that was more change-ready and adaptable. Diversity and inclusion can help make a business competitive, viable, relevant and profitable.

With significant demographic changes forecasted over the coming decades, diversity will increasingly influence both our personal and professional worlds. The companies that will profit most may be the pioneers ready and willing to embrace the future now and, in doing so, help maximize the potential of their own futures.


The information in this publication was compiled from sources believed to be reliable for informational purposes only. All sample policies and procedures herein should serve as a guideline, which you can use to create your own policies and procedures. We trust that you will customize these samples to reflect your own operations and believe that these samples may serve as a helpful platform for this endeavor. Any and all information contained herein is not intended to constitute advice (particularly not legal advice). Accordingly, persons requiring advice should consult independent advisors when developing programs and policies. We do not guarantee the accuracy of this information or any results and further assume no liability in connection with this publication and sample policies and procedures, including any information, methods or safety suggestions contained herein. Past results and prior performance are not indicative of future outcomes. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any of this information, whether to reflect new information, future developments, events or circumstances or otherwise. Moreover, Zurich reminds you that this cannot be assumed to contain every acceptable safety and compliance procedure or that additional procedures might not be appropriate under the circumstances. The subject matter of this publication is not tied to any specific insurance product nor will adopting these policies and procedures ensure coverage under any insurance policy.

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