It's human nature to gravitate toward people who are like us. It's encoded within our brain and revealed in the form of affinity bias, which is our unconscious preference towards similar people. The more we have things in common with others, the more we gravitate towards them.

The similarity could come in the form of race, gender, nationality, language, accent, interests, ethnicity, religion, cultural background, education, personality, sexual orientation and so on. Affinity bias not only affects our friendships but it also largely defines the workforce if we're not aware of the bias. 

That's why in most companies, we find people who are similar to each other. However, we're seeing a rising trend in understanding the importance of diversity within companies due to increased globalization and open-mindedness. Indeed, it has been proven multiple times that a company with diverse employees has a huge competitive advantage than less diverse companies. 

Denise Hamet, a professional with 25 years of economic development shares some examples.

 According to research by Josh Bersin, inclusive companies are 1.7 times more likely to be innovation leaders in their market.
Harvard Business Review concluded that diverse teams are able to solve problems faster than cognitively similar people.
 Cloverpop, an online decision-making platform released a white paper claiming that diverse teams made better business decisions than individual decision-makers 87% of the time.
 A study conducted by McKinsey & Company that included 180 companies in the US, the UK, France, and Germany found that companies with diverse teams were the top financial performers.
Another research done by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) proved that diverse management teams made 19% more revenue.
 A study by Deloitte showed higher employee engagement in three large Australian businesses due to diversity and inclusion.
 According to a survey conducted by Glassdoor, 67% of job seekers said that they would prefer a diverse workforce, which means that inclusivity makes companies more desirable place to work.

The benefits of diverse teams extend far beyond what these researchers managed to capture. Some other benefits include increased creativity, diverse perspectives, reduced turnover due to increased workplace happiness, and better company reputation all over the world.

A 2015 SHRM report exploring trends in HR found that even after all these benefits, many Fortune 1000 companies aren't taking the initiative to diversify their teams either because they aren't aware of the affinity bias or because they are "too busy”, according to 41% of the managers polled.

Once the managers and recruiters are aware of their biases and they realize the difference inclusivity can make in a company, they can prioritize the change and make it a team effort to implement diversification so that their company can evolve and reach new dimensions.

About Denise Hamet:
Denise Hamet is a creative, yet pragmatic leader in the areas of community and economic development, real estate, banking, city planning, and defense, with 25 years of experience in both public and private sector.

Ms. Hamet’s diverse skill set includes financial analysis, public sector funding, project financing, grant writing and management, site selection, public incentives and real estate advisory, economic and business development, brownfield redevelopment, and community redevelopment planning, making her a dynamic professional in her field.