Increase diversity to boost your bottom line

"Diversity" is a term everyone can get behind. Theoretically, it makes good ethical sense to hire and promote people of all genders, ethnicities, sexual orientations, physical abilities and ages. Any fair minded CEO would agree that equal opportunity and cultural inclusivity create companies that attract more talent, that people would be proud to work for.

"If diversity isn't in your company's core values, or mission statement, get it there," writes Christine Lagorio-Chafkin in Forbes. "But make sure it's a genuine sentiment, and one that actually fits. Then, bring it to life."

Encouraging workplace diversity also has tangible benefits to a company's bottom line. Here are several metrics by which companies who embrace diversity can enjoy gains:

Competence. When the hiring playing field is truly leveled, managers can select the best of the best from a larger, more diverse pool of applicants. Candidates from minority backgrounds are more likely to seek out positions at companies where they know their contributions will be recognized, and that share their core values. 

Creativity. Bringing together minds and skills from a variety of backgrounds has been proven to increase lateral thinking. A 2011 Forbes study found that 85 percent of global enterprises believe diversity is the key to innovative thinking and positioning. 

Market share. A diverse team will use its collective knowledge to reach consumers across cultural barriers and expand audiences. 

Retention. Companies where a multitude of people feel welcome are less likely to experience turnover rates due to employee dissatisfaction. A corporate culture that is hostile or indifferent to diversity can burn bridges with qualified employees who find their values inconsistent with those of their employer. Filling positions and training new employees can produce costly time and resource waste, and breeds a sense of instability among coworkers.