Has "Diversity" every been shown to be profitable?

Our company has some placards around the building that state our company values. Honestly, Integrity, blah, blah, blah.

One, in bold letters no less, is “Diversity”.

I was wondering, ignoring the intangible warm-fuzzys of all God’s children working in harmony, has a diverse workforce been shown to have a positive economic impact on a company? …increased our bottom line?

I imagine it’s had an increase in productivity in multicultural workplaces, but I suspect it’s more of a PR thing- after all, a company with motivational posters on the walls featuring Klan Rallies and Black & White Minstrels isn’t likely to be well thought of by the general public in most civilised places…

Let’s look at the opposite: Wal-Mart recently left the German market. One reason, and you hear this often when companies fail in new markets, was the failure to take into account German cultural differences. One specific example given was that Wal-Mart focused on customer service, while their German customers saw the higher customer service (like having people bag groceries) as a sign that they weren’t getting the lowest price, like they would at Aldi or Real. So in this case, a failure to account for the cultural diversity of the customers cost WalMart a bunch of money. Essentially WalMart “knew” what was good for their customers. Maybe if they’d hired AND listened to some German cultural experts.

It’s easier to see this stuff when you have the extremes of entirely different cultural systems. In another example, a large laundry manufacturer struggled to sell detergent in it’s Latin American markets. When they got around to trying to understand their customer base they found that it was just too expensive for people in these markets to buy a huge box of detergent, like you or I might at Costco or the local A&P. So they went with smaller bags of detergent, as small as just a few loads. Now had they actually had employees who came from this background and listened to them earlier they would have made money quicker (they did eventually get around to this conclusion).

Well, if you don’t have anybody who speaks Spanish, you’ll lose Hispanic customers to stores who do. Is that “diversity” or is it smart hiring practices? (Spanish speaking people do not, of course, have to be Hispanic.)

Not to mention the people who won’t do business with non-diverse companies. This includes local, state and federal agencies. A lily-white workforce will cost you some contratcs, these days. That’s the bottom line in a nutshell.

Depends whether you mean “Diversity” as in one-employee-of-every-federally-mandated-skin-color, or diversity, as in a workplace with people of various cultural/training/career/education backgrounds. I would think the latter helps ward off groupthink and keeps the corporate culture from stultifying, which can send a business full speed ahead to loserville.

But if you want hardass, bottom-line, numbers-based proof, I’m not your boy.

Where I work is like the UN at times. This has had the advantage that we’ve almost always been able to find someone internal to deal with whatever languages are needed in our software. We have people who speak English, French, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, German, Thai, Serbian, Croatian, Romanian, Russian, Lebanese, Hindi, Punjabi, Greek, Italian, Hebrew, and Arabic. The only exception I know of was when we had to look outside the company for someone who spoke Turkish.

Embracing diversity has been very good for my company. Out of all of our competitors, we are seen as having the most diverse workforce. Since we provide services globally, it is extremely important that we be able to respond appropriately in whichever marketplace we are serving. Not only that, but my company’s definition of diversity is much broader than what is mandated by law, so we have a broad variety of backgrounds, cultures, ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations, educational backgrounds, disability, you name it. We recruit in communities that historically haven’t had much representation in our industry, and we start with mentoring progams for kids in grade school, on up through mentoring and internships in high school and college. The message is that you are welcome here.

The bottom line is that it has been very good for the bottom line. The company’s main message is that making money is far more important than anything else, so anything that interferes with someone’s ability to make money for the company or provide effective service to the client is a Bad Thing and Will Not Be Tolerated. Our diversity training is actually useful and I am aware of at least two instances of apologies being made for previous hurtful (and ignorant) remarks and the some of the biggest offenders have gone on to be the biggest champions of diversity. But, this has been a conscious and sustained program in my company over the past two decades and comes directly from the top. If the company in question doesn’t reinforce and **live ** those values, starting at the top, I don’t think there is any economic benefit to what is essentially pretty posters on the wall.


Football, baseball and basketball teams (college and pro) with the best players, regardless of race, have fared better than those that are all white. My cite for this, beyond common sense, is that there are very few all-white teams anymore.

I think Diversity posters are stupid, don’t tell me, show me. What the heck does a poster do to a building full of WASP’s who don’t make the hiring decisions anyway. I wonder if any of those signs are hanging in the personnel office.

I severely doubt my place of work has to put up any posters, since it’s workforce says enough about its’ company policies on “diversity”
Press 1 for English

“Press 1 for English,” yourself. The possessive of “it” is always “its” with no apostrophe. " Its’ " with a trailing apostrophe is always wrong. I usually let these mistakes go, but the trailing apostrophe gets you pulled over on my information superhighway.

I hope I’m not stifling your cultural expression, or hurting this board’s grammatical diversity… :dubious: :smiley:

Diversity posters are simply management’s way of being PC. Their hope is that it will help in the event of lawsuit.

In a larger sense, the USA is a country built on diversity, or is certainly way up on the list, and it dominates the global economy. Not sure how comparable that is to an individual company, but there ya go.

An example of the “non-profitableness” of fighting diversity is the New York Yankees. After having been a dominant team in at least half the years during the 1920’s. 30’s, 40’s & 50’s, from the mid-1960’s thru the mid-1970’s they dropped to a mediocre or worse team. Much of this is attributed to the club’s refusal to accept black players, either on the team or in their farm teams.

The apostrophe is the bane of my existence. For what it is worth, I shall enroll in a twelve step program immediately. I also tend to abuse the unholy comma.

In a way, I feel rather proud to have been finally nailed on a technicality. Whee! For the record, the southernism ya’ll is spelled precisely that way. Any other positioning of an apostrophe, I am at a loss.

Does this put me in a protected class? Could I be the poster child for diversity? grabs the hand of the nearest ethnic person Together, with your skin color and my Apostrophically Challenged self, we are GOLDEN!

Oh, screw the Motivational Posters too. Those sicken me.

I like the De-motivational posters you can get from thinkgeek.com:smiley:

What about all black teams?

There is a large difference between a team that was assembled in the interet of talent, and one assembled in the interest of diversity.

Why do you hate America?

You + all = Y’all

Well, it seems clear that any group limiting itself to members of a certain race, creed, orientation, or anything else which needs members of ability is going to end up generally overall inferior to one who seeks members from all sorts, if the talent is out there everywhere, just because they’re themselves ignoring some of the good people.