Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple said that, “Inclusion of diversity inspires innovation. The best companies in the land will be the most diverse.”

Apple has long been the standard bearer for innovation. It is rare for the topic of innovation to occur without mention of Apple’s history of disruption in the technology sector, and essentially reinventing categories of technology we never knew we needed. But Apple has been called out in the past for lack of inclusion. They have reacted with new practices, and claim 50% of new hires are now from “underrepresented groups in tech.”

Leading tech companies are now stepping up their game in recognition that diversity and innovation strategies drive their ability to innovate long term, attract and retain the best talent, as well as attract and retain customers who are more educated than ever about consumer options thanks to the very technology being developed in the sector.

A study by Salesforce found that 80% of those surveyed believe that companies have a responsibility to go beyond profit to make an impact on society. But gone are the days where diversity and inclusion are merely practices companies implemented to be good corporate citizens. While hiring a diverse workforce should be a social justice imperative, it has in fact been found to be a competitive advantage. McKinsey’s study “Why Diversity Matters” found gender, cultural and ethic diversity significantly increased performance measures in both earnings and profitability.

DIVERSITY OF THOUGHT – WHY INCLUSION MATTERS

Bringing together team members with diverse backgrounds, experiences and perspectives was found to be not just correlative but causative for enhancing innovation. Meaning, the diversity of thought itself was a driver of the increased innovative outcomes. Green Hasson Janks has a practice of selecting teams that represent a cross section of diversity of thought to increase successful and innovative outcomes.

A study published this year from NC State’s Poole College of Management concluded workforce diversity in fact enhances firm value. The paper’s title asks “Do Pro-Diversity Policies Improve Corporate Innovation?”

“We wanted to know whether companies with policies encouraging the promotion and retention of a diverse workforce – in terms of gender, race and sexual orientation – also perform better at developing innovative products and services,” said Richard Warr, co-author of the paper. “The short answer is that they do.”

YOUR PEOPLE CARE ABOUT DIVERSITY

In the war for talent, not only are creative recruiting practices needed to discover new avenues to find high performers, but also the cost of attrition can dash bottom line projections – no matter how great a company’s product or sales innovations may be.

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