13 November 2017

Diversity and inclusion are the strength
The Edge Financial Daily, Home Business

Recent research shows that companies with more diverse workforces perform better financially

Diversity and inclusion in race, gender and background at the workplace are essential for an organisation’s success in a constantly evolving marketplace.

In an interview with The Edge Financial Daily last Friday, CIMB Group chairman Datuk Seri Nazir Razak said diversity and inclusion are critical to an organisation’s and a nation’s success. He has always been a strong advocate of diversity.

In the interview prior to the commemoration of CIMB Foundation’s 10th anniversary at The Curve in Petaling Jaya, Nazir said the report found that Malaysians seemed to live alongside each other, but apart — having little meaningful interaction with people from other races for most of their lives, preferring instead to spend time with people from their own racial groups. About 90% of Malay respondents, 80% of Chinese respondents and 70% of Indian respondents reported that almost all of their friends were from their own respective racial groups.

Diversity may be generally used to differentiate groups and people from one another. It means respect for and appreciation of differences in ethnicity, gender, age, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, education and religion. But it is more than that.

Nazir said we all bring with us diverse perspectives, work experiences, lifestyles and cultures. As a source and driver of innovation, diversity is a “big idea” in business and society.

“At CIMB we know the power of diversity is unleashed when we respect and value differences.”

Inclusion is a state of being valued, respected and supported. It is about focusing on the needs of every individual and ensuring that the right conditions are in place for each person to achieve his or her full potential. Inclusion should be reflected in an organisation’s culture, practices and relationships that are in place to support a diverse workforce.

In simple terms, diversity is the mix; inclusion is getting the mix to work well together. And new research makes it increasingly clear that companies with more diverse workforces perform better financially.

Nazir said: “I am happy to note that CIMB Foundation is also introducing ‘diversity and inclusion’ as the guiding principle for all its initiatives, to promote better communal relations, diversity and inclusion and nurture cross-cultural understanding among beneficiaries.”

He said: “As part of this, to promote better communal relations and to drive greater integration for Malaysians, the CIMB Foundation will be launching a Mozek School on November 30, which would be a holiday school for students to learn more about integration and also for them to live together in a multiracial society.

“Diversity is something that makes you very powerful as a leader. You got to have a diverse team of people so that you can have different thinking. Business is about diversity and drawing off that diversity”, said Nazir.

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