Fostering Innovation Through a Diverse Workforce

Dec 18, 2011

"Companies have to have a diverse workforce. It's very important to our business strategy and helps capture new clients and address business needs."

- Niki Kesglou, head of diversity and inclusion, Asia Pacific, Credit Suisse


"While we work hard to retain our current consumers, the potential for adding new consumers is in the emerging markets. And diversity is key in this, whether we're trying to reach men, women of different ages, or woman of different ethnicities."

- Frederic Rozé, chief executive officer, L'Oréal USA

"Diverse teams and companies make better decisions. And in the aftermath of the financial crisis, diversity is even more of a priority."

- Eileen Taylor, global head of diversity, Deutsche Bank


Do not dismiss the relevancy of these quotes, which come from the report Fostering Innovation Through a Diverse Workforce, just because they are made by corporate leaders. A recent survey, The Voice of Nonprofit Talent, reported that one of the most significant challenges faced by the nonprofit sector is the building and sustaining of diverse organizations, specifically attracting, retaining, and advancing a diverse workforce.

Fostering Innovation Through a Diverse Workforce, conducted by Forbes Insights, surveyed corporate executives with follow up one-on-one interviews with diversity professionals, board members and other executives. Key findings in this report and relevant to the arts sector include:

Diversity is a key driver of innovation.

A diverse and inclusive workforce is crucial for companies that want to attract and retain top talent.

Responsibility for the success of company's diversity/inclusion efforts lies with senior management.

Among the reasons corporations commit to diversity and inclusion initiatives is globalization, which may not seem relevant to performing arts organizations. The Forbes Insight report indicates that "companies that want to be successful need to have a workforce that reflects the demographics of the region they are doing business in."

NPAC's selection of diversity as a priority shows that the arts sector shares this corporate premise:

"The increasing diversity of our communities creates an opportunity to engage a variety of ages, races, identities, and cultures in our audiences and organizations."

Though identified as important, the report The Voice of Nonprofit Talent, indicates we are far from reaching this goal:

"Shifts in the general population underscore the need for nonprofit organizations to reflect the diversity of the communities they serve. However, the makeup of the nonprofit sector does not appear to reflect these changes. Today’s nonprofit employees are approximately 82 percent white, 10 percent African-American, five percent Hispanic/Latino, three percent other, and one percent Asian or Pacific Islander. The gap in representation is more pronounced in nonprofit governance, where only 14 percent of board members are people of color. Similarly, in specialized functions such as development, less than six percent of roles are filled by people of color."

Though corporations are different in scale and are further along in implementing diversity policies, practices and initiatives, there is still a great deal nonprofit can learn from Forbes Insight's Fostering Innovation Through a Diverse Workforce.

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Sub Categories

DIVERSITY: Leadership
DIVERSITY: The Big Picture
DIVERSITY: Diversity and the Arts
DIVERSITY: Board Leadership
DIVERSITY: Disabled Community
DIVERSITY: African American / Black Community
DIVERSITY: Latino / Hispanic
DIVERSITY: Administration
DIVERSITY: Generations
DIVERSITY: Marketing
DIVERSITY: Customer Service
DIVERSITY: Socio-Economic Status
DIVERSITY: White/Caucasian