Workplace diversity leads to better results


Worldwide women drive 70% - 80% of consumer base either as an influencer by buying on behalf of the family or as a direct customer. The “female economy” is a great business opportunity for many businesses such as: Health Care, Retail, Apparel, Beauty etc. Companies’ workforce mix must reflect the clients’ diverse population to be responsive to their needs and expectations.

According to a IBM Smarter workforce study conducted on 33,000 workers in 28 countries, creating a strong climate of diversity and inclusion leads to higher confidence in organizational performance, higher customer focus, higher level of employee engagement and better innovations and outcomes when compared to organizations with a weak diversity and inclusion climate.

The worldwide survey conducted by HR consulting firm DDI and The Conference Board suggests that, in 20% of the top financially performing companies, 27% of the leaders are women. Among the bottom 20%, only 19% of leaders are women. Research indicates that businesses that have higher representation of women at the leadership level report stronger financial outcomes.

A dearth of top talent is often cited as the biggest barrier to company growth in emerging markets. As per WEF, there are 24% women in India's workforce, 117 million out of 478 million people. The proportion of women in private sector companies is 24.5% of the total workforce compared to just 17.9% of the public sector. In central government jobs, women accounted for 7.6% in 1991, which, almost two decades later, had touched just 10%. To meet the talent demand, companies can explore best from the widest possible untapped women talent pool.

In the 1980s, IBM had an ad that said "Great minds think alike". Eventually, it was changed to read: "Great minds think unalike." The point is clear enough: a diversity of knowledge, talents, and experience helps companies grow. The diverse perspectives and talent spur innovation. The application of intelligence, reason and science improve business, human condition and society at large.

Every organization benefits with a balanced representation of men and women in the workplace. Diversity as a strategy impacts not only the organization performance but its reputation as an “Employer of Choice”. Organization recognizing that diversity is an essential component of doing business is more relevant today than ever.

(About the author: This article has been written by Roopa Wilson, Diversity & Inclusion-India Lead, IBM India / South Asia)