Don’t miss the link between diversity and firms’ success

Stephen Overell’s article, ‘Dealing with hard reality’ (Personnel Today, 1 March) about the business case for diversity (or lack thereof) appears to be based on the flawed assumption that a well-established business case involves a sleight of hand.

While it is true that many of the benefits that arise from managing diversity appear, at first glance, to be intangible, there is a direct correlation between diversity and business advantage.

Diversity brings bottom-line benefits because when managed proactively it adds to the commitment levels of all our people. Our annual people survey indicates that the higher the commitment levels of our people, the greater our levels of productivity and retention.

The cost savings associated with retention ratios are well documented, but professional services organisations can also factor in the incremental revenue streams that accrue from fielding highly experienced individuals to solve complex client problems.

In our experience, clients will pay a premium for quality. A diverse client base provides us with a wide range of business opportunities in terms of the products and services we provide, and we see a clear need to meet the requirements of our clients by bringing a multi-faceted and culturally diverse perspective.

Believing that organisations will become more diverse as society becomes more diverse is wishful thinking. As a large, global organisation, we do not operate independently of the social context of the day. Social demographics clearly point to a changed world. To ignore the opportunity presented by actively engaging with and managing diversity, is to miss out on bottom line benefits.

Lisa Bondesio
Head of diversity, Deloitte UK

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