Before we talk about its importance lets first be clear on its definition.  Diversity is defined as “the range of human differences including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity sexual orientation, age, social class, physical ability or attributes, religious or ethical values system, national origin, and political beliefs. Inclusion means to involve and empower, “where the inherent worth and dignity of all people are recognized. In short, Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) is the involvement and empowerment of all people.

In addition to be the right thing to do, D&I is essential for business growth and success. Too often there are stories of businesses disrespecting and offending different races, particularly black people and other cultures. It is evident their boardrooms are not diverse. If so, the mistakes would’ve been corrected before the offense. As a result, businesses are boycotted, sales are affected, and the media attention is almost always negative.

Few businesses thrive without innovation. A diverse company nurtures creativity and innovation. If every employee has a similar background, with related ideas, and they all agree with each other, there will be a lack of innovation. Including different cultures, beliefs, and experiences will bring different ideas and allows the company to brainstorm and decide what works.

A diverse workplace can work toward reaching different markets, which can increase profits and economic growth. To be competitive in today’s financial market, businesses need to adapt to our growing and changing country.  Consumers notice and they will take their business where they feel they are included.

Employees notice when they’re not included as well — comparing an employee who feels added to one who doesn’t is simple. The incorporated employee feels empowered to work to the best of their ability while the employee who isn’t will deliver a lackluster performance before eventually finding a new job. As a business owner or member of management, when you see an employee doing what it takes to get by, ask yourself, “What am I doing wrong?”  Then ask your employees how you can help them grow. What do they need from you as a leader?

Risha Grant is an executive coach who can coach you through any D&I issues, no matter the timeframe. She is funny, honest, and she has no problem discussing the uncomfortable. She has provided a video series to show you how to change perceptions, create innovative teams, foster inclusion, and increase profits. Don’t think it’s possible? That’s BS!