September 20, 2019 / Analysis

Corporate inclusivity breeds innovation, report finds

By Joe McGrath, ESG Clarity

A new report finds a strong correlation between levels of staff diversity and innovation

Corporate inclusivity breeds innovation, report finds

Companies are being urged to focus on employee diversity as research shows workplace innovation can be hugely impacted by how inclusive a company is.

Research collated by workspace innovation firm Instant Offices, revealed a strong correlation between staff diversity and innovation.

Citing a study by the Boston Consulting Group, Instant Offices said companies with a diversity score that is above average see a 45 per cent increase in innovation on average – while those who are below average see a 26 per cent increase in comparison.

“Diversity in the workplace is another of today’s most widespread social issues, and there is substantial research to support the benefits for companies that take steps to become more diverse,” Instant Offices stated.

The firm said further studies reveal nearly three quarters (74 per cent) of millennials believe their workplace is more innovative when the culture is more inclusive, while half of all millennial jobseekers are prioritising a culture of diversity and inclusion when choosing prospective employers.

In particular, jobseekers, as well as consumers, are favouring companies that positively address LGBTQ+ issues and gender equality, the workspace provider added.

According to Instant Group, belief-driven buying, where consumers choose to support or boycott a brand based on their stance on important social issues, has gone mainstream – with 60 per cent of consumers wanting brands to be more transparent about their values and beliefs.

In 2018, the Earned Brand Report, which covered markets in the UK, USA, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India and Japan, revealed half of people today will choose, change or boycott brands based on their view on specific social issues, while 65 per cent would ditch a brand that stayed silent on topics they believe it is obligated to address.

Japan saw the most significant year-on-year growth in belief-driven buying, with a 21 per cent increase, closely followed by the UK, with 20 per cent year-on-year growth.

“Both consumers and employees chose to support brands and companies based on their forward-thinking approach to diversity.

“Diversity and equality in the workplace are just two crucial elements that make up a well-balanced workplace, that is both accepting and welcoming to all existing employees, as well as those looking to join the company,” the Instant Group said.

The company said there are a number of ways organisations can ensure a diverse and tolerant environment, including ensuring a diverse pool of candidates when interviewing for positions, encouraging conversations around diversity, and partnering with other firms that are recognised for diverse leadership.