Regarding inclusion & diversity, justifications of the value of hiring a diverse workforce have become a norm. “Innovation requires breakthrough ideas that only come from a diverse workforce.” Research proves that how an organisation talks about diversity can have a major impact. Diversity of thought is equally important as diversity on the basis of physical attributes like gender or race.
Today, companies either build a business case for diversity (a justification on the grounds of profitability) or a fairness case for diversity (a justification on the moral grounds of equal opportunities).
80% of companies use a business case to justify the importance of diversity. In contrast, less than 5% use the fairness case. The remainder either don’t list diversity as a value or don’t provide any justification on why it matters (HBR).
A business case approach assumes that the under-represented candidates offer different skills, perspectives & styles as unique contributions to drive the success of diverse companies. Frames diversity as more of a business asset. A fairness case on diversity as an end in itself is very valuable. Empathetically encourages a sense of belonging. Maybe, there isn’t a need to justify our commitment to diversity, at all?
We don’t need an explanation for the presence of well-represented groups in the workplace beyond their experience, abilities & expertise. Then, do we really need a justification for the presence of under-represented groups? It may seem counter-intuitive, but making stereo-typed cases for diversity inherently implies that valuing diversity is up for discussion. Diversity & inclusion need to be naturally embedded in a company’s culture. We don’t justify why we value resilience, passion or integrity. So, why treat diversity & inclusion any differently?