”Having a diverse workforce can help companies better serve a diverse customer base, which can lead to increased revenue”
On why diversity is set to become ’the new sustainability’
May 03, 2023
Tell us about yourself.
— I’m 35 years old and a second generation immigrant who grew up in one of Sweden’s most underserved areas, Vivalla in Örebro. I became a Swedish diplomat and worked in Baghdad for some years, to later become a management consultant working with some of Sweden’s largest corporations and c-level representatives from companies such as Volvo, Ericsson, Scania, and ABB, to support them in identifying business opportunities and increasing their export in the region, says Almayahi. She continues:
— A few years ago, I founded Teint. The initial idea was to remake everyday consumer products and make them exciting and accessible to every person — irrespective of their race, gender, ethnicity, religion, nationality, disability, socioeconomic status, identity, and sexual orientation. We want people to feel seen, heard, and empowered to thrive. For us, inclusion means considering and catering to everyone’s needs, and looking at the products today, many of them need a makeover. We started with plasters, but skincare, haircare, maternity care, clothing, and the likes haven’t followed the pace at which society has evolved and is moving towards. We now have some super exciting partnerships that we will be revealing soon and are also working on our next product that will be addressing several D&I (diversity and inclusion, Ed’s note) dimensions.
The other week, you initiated Co-Creation. What is it and what will you do?
— We don’t believe in solving all D&I-related challenges by ourselves. However, we believe in working together with major players, in all possible verticals, such as fashion, retail, and transportation — to make sure that their products and services are inclusive. In addition, we also aim at helping companies to implement strategies to solve inclusion issues internally. Indeed, being a diverse company does not necessarily mean an inclusive workplace. The goal is to take advantage of the power of major companies in order to accomplish significant change and foster greater inclusivity in society. Diversity and inclusion is currently in a similar position to where sustainability was 15-20 years ago. Sustainability was only recognized by a few pioneers and those who understood that it is vital for our existence. Similarly, D&I is becoming increasingly crucial for businesses to ensure their business continuation and relevance towards their customer base. We will co-create with companies to integrate D&I in their existing goals and vision to attract and retain talent and address a broader customer base, to ensure long-term business sustainability.
You’ve also mentioned that you are proof of the fact that working with inclusion and diversity is profitable. How?
— There are numerous reports and studies done by renowned consulting firms, such as McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group, and Harvard Business Review, that show the real impact and benefits of a proactive D&I strategy within businesses. To mention a few examples:
– 82% of consumers would take action to support a company when they believed in its purpose – 19% revenue increase in innovation score with a diverse management – 2.3 higher cash flow per employee
— Research has shown that companies that prioritize Diversity & Inclusion tend to have a competitive advantage over those that do not, says Almayahi. This is because diversity brings a range of perspectives, ideas, and experiences to the table, which can lead to innovation, creativity, and better decision-making. Furthermore, having a diverse workforce can help companies better understand and serve a diverse customer base, which can lead to increased customer loyalty and revenue. According to Building For Everyone: Expand Your Market With Design Practices From Google’s Product Inclusion Team, in numbers this means $1.4 trillion US black community spending power (2020), $1.7 trillion spending power of US Latinx community (2020), $1 trillion market for global disabled customers (2017), $18 trillion Global women’s income (2020), and $917 billion US LGBTQ market (2020).
— Furthermore, a workplace that values Diversity & Inclusion can help attract and retain top-performing talent. People from underrepresented groups are more likely to apply and accept job offers from companies that prioritize D&I. This can lead to a more talented and engaged workforce, which can help drive business success.
— According to the Volvo Cars 2021 Annual and Sustainability report, 82% of consumers would take action to support a company when they believe in its purpose. And, lastly, the level of awareness about D&I among Generation Z is not to be taken lightly. You need to stay genuine and relevant to ensure the success of your business. According to Statista 7,2% of the US adults identify as LGBT of which nearly 20% of Gen Z identify as LGBT.
What have you learned from this work, and hat are the keys for brands or organisations to improve this work? Any do’s and don’ts?
— One should not get overwhelmed by the magnitude of the topic, start small. I would start by first understanding what D&I means, then identify what it means to my line of business. What challenges do I face in my daily work that could potentially be tackled with D&I strategies? Be aware of your unconscious biases. All humans have biases, even the ones with good intentions, what is important is to be aware of your biases. This will help you make better decisions.
— Numerous reports and studies show the impact and benefits of a proactive D&I strategy within businesses
— 82% of consumers would take action to support a company when they believe in its purpose
— The level of awareness about D&I among Generation Z is not to be taken lightly
To get more stories like this, sign up for our newsletter here