It is essential for everyone to understand what equality means in business, especially when deciding what voices we uplift and why. In the workplace, equality matters on a daily basis, even for a virtual marketing assistant such as myself. Having diverse voices in your workplace and on your team impacts the way that we develop marketing strategies, company culture, ect. Exploring the sociological viewpoint in which we develop and improve businesses directly affects the future of that company. Executives and companies must integrate diverse voices into their culture, or they will eventually fall out of touch with the world.
So, how can a business truly achieve equality in the long-term? Oddly enough, equity is the answer. This idea intersects with every nook and cranny of life, especially for those who are not white men. First, let’s break down the actual value of equity. One of the most obvious examples of this is affirmative action in colleges. Offering a boost to marginalized racial groups allows for those students to have a better chance at being accepted into college. Statistically speaking, white people already have received a boost at birth. According to the Federal Reserve Board, black households hold 2.9% of wealth, while hispanic households hold 2.8% of wealth. The black population accounts for 16% of the total US population, and while hispanic people account for 10.9%. That is a startling wealth gap, which is why affirmative action and other forms of equity came into place.
So instead of being blind to race, many colleges decided to take into account that unless a slight boost is given, people of color will struggle significantly more to afford and attend college. Unfortunately, the US Supreme Court has banned affirmative action from higher education on June 29. Whether you agree or disagree with the constitutional basis of the law, this will negatively impact the ability for marginalized students to attend college.
So, how does this connect to promoting diversity in the workplace? First, we need to understand that affirmative action does not only benefit the lower class or people of color. It also allows for universities to reflect what the actual world looks like, meaning that there will be a variety of opinions. It doesn’t necessarily matter what GPA or SAT score is the highest; there needs to be a greater diversity of population to allow for a greater diversity of perspective. The same rule of thumb applies to hiring practices, from administrative assistants to board members. The Director Point explains the importance of diversity in the boardroom, especially when tackling complex issues. If you have a group of people with the same racial, gender, and economic background, similar ideas and opinions will be presented. Similar ideas aren’t a great tool for defeating corporate problems in such a diverse society, and those companies will eventually lose connection with their customer base.
Fortunately, the diversity of race and gender in boardrooms have been growing within the past 20 years, and businesses have been noticing the difference. Diverse boardrooms are beating homogeneous boardrooms at a 53% higher ROE (Returns on Equity), according to a recent study by McKinsey & Company. Integrating diversity into the workplace can not be ignored, and board members need to make space for those diverse voices. Different perspectives and backgrounds solve problems, and solving problems result in higher earnings. Developing policies that promote diversity, such as racial and gender quotas, in the business world is a fiscally responsible strategy to sustain corporate relevance.