The Importance of Workforce Diversity

Healthcare DiversityOver the past several decades, workforce diversity has become an essential component to developing and nurturing a healthy and thriving professional environment for healthcare organizations nationally and across the globe. The increased interest in embracing and practicing diversity and inclusion (D&I) standards has become vital to today’s savvy healthcare leaders. More than just a banner or publicity tactic, diversity standards serve to accurately reflect the rapidly and unquestioningly shifting demographics in the United States in terms of employees and patient population.

What Does Workforce Diversity Mean?

Diversity is often interpreted as encompassing factors such as race and gender. While those factors are not insignificant, the ever-expanding meaning of diversity has evolved, featuring a growing emphasis on diversity of thought and experiences. Such a convergence has the power to affect a welcome change in innovation and growth for today’s modern healthcare organizations.

Diversity may include race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, generation, differently-abled individuals, personality types and thinking styles, among other variants. Fostering a workforce that includes any combination of these diverse communities allows for a rich tapestry of voices to inspire bold new directions in healthcare to better serve patients.

Why Is Workplace Diversity Important for Healthcare Organizations?

Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) practices have become an essential component in 21st century human resource strategies in all industries, including healthcare. “Diversity in health professions fosters cultural competence and is paramount to the nation’s need to eliminate inequities in the quality and availability of healthcare for underserved populations,” said Carrie Hackett, President, Managing Partner at Grant Cooper.

There are many reasons for healthcare leaders to embrace the power of diversity. Following are dynamic and relatable reasons workplace diversity is vital for healthcare organizations now and well into the future. 

Diverse Organizations Experience Financial Benefits

The 2017 McKinsey & Company report, Delivering Through Diversity, shows that there is a case for improved financial performance when tapping into gender, cultural and ethnic diversity. In terms of gender, McKinsey & Company found a positive correlation between gender diversity on executive teams and financial performance. According to the report, companies in the top-quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 21 percent more likely to outperform on profitability and 27 percent more likely to have superior value creation. Companies in the top-quartile for ethnic/cultural diversity on executive teams were 33 percent more likely to have industry-leading profitability.

 A Large Pool of Diverse Candidates Is Readily Available

In today’s healthcare landscape, health systems are not limited to a single hospital or clinic in one location. The rise of integrated, multidisciplinary networks has forever changed the face of the industry. Often crossing city and county boundaries, healthcare executive leaders need access to a steady stream of talented candidates whose experience and background match the desired qualifications. A strong D&I program ensures that an organization is bringing the most talented candidates to be reviewed and ultimately hired.

Solid D&I Programs Allow Supportive Employee Networks to Form

Diversity in Healthcare

Supportive network groups provide people from a variety of backgrounds to discuss the idea of belonging in the workplace, as the environment continually shifts. Combined with a strong D&I program and high-caliber leadership, when the right people are in the right positions — regardless of demographic background — diversity cultivates and fosters mutual respect among staff and management. The Delivering Through Diversity report noted that D&I management “reduces conflict between groups, improving collaboration and loyalty.” These office environments tend to lead to a highly prized atmosphere of overwhelming inclusivity and creativity — all stemming from organizational support of D&I as a foundational aspect of overall operations. A diverse program allows all employees to feel comfortable and empowered to be their best selves for the benefit of all.

D&I Programs Provide Service to a Varied Demographic Patient Population

The diverse makeup of employees may resemble the composition of a healthcare organization’s patient population. While healthcare leaders cannot tailor the organization’s workforce to mirror its patient roster, hiring a diverse staff of dedicated professionals benefits both the facility and patients. For example, a healthcare facility may find that it needs language translation to best serve a patient who speaks English as their second language. If an organization adheres to D&I practices, they may have someone on staff who can help when the need arises.

Diversity of Thought Offers Unique Perspectives and Problem-Solving Approaches

People from varying demographic backgrounds bring with them a unique set of life experiences that enhance workplace environments and foster team growth. “Published research from academia, corporations, and other organizations supports that diverse and inclusive groups make better quality decisions, often faster, and in a more fact-based manner, with less cognitive bias or groupthink,” the McKinsey & Company diversity report said.

Information technology and market research are just two of the many areas that benefit from diverse hiring. Whether employees have interacted with different IT platforms, hardware and software programs, or they just take a different approach to problem solving, all areas of healthcare benefit from diversity of thought. The far-reaching result of inclusivity comes down to innovative solutions, which is a victory for everyone involved.

Organically Boost Your Healthcare Organization’s Diversity

If your organization could use some help recruiting diverse candidates, the team at Grant Cooper understands this need and has vast experience from which to draw.

Grant Cooper commits to providing diversity in each of our candidate slates and recognizes the impact it makes to our client organizations. Each search team aggressively pursues candidates  currently underrepresented in healthcare leadership positions. We present the best candidates for each search while also including diversity in every candidate slate recommended.

The Grant Cooper staff is uniquely trained in diversity recruiting. We source from, but are not limited to, a variety of associations, resources, colleges and universities that traditionally serve diverse populations.

Contact us today so we can help you boost your healthcare organization’s diversity with skilled and talented professionals.

About Carrie Hackett

Carrie Hackett, RN, BSN, President and Managing Partner: Following a successful career as Nurse Manager for one of the nation’s largest obstetrics services, Carrie Hackett has achieved a national reputation for excellence in healthcare executive search. Carrie brings more than 25 years of experience to Grant Cooper. She has earned sterling client-evaluated quality ratings for hundreds of executive positions across the nation.

About Grant Cooper

Grant Cooper is a retained executive search firm working principally in healthcare to identify and recruit superior executive talent. Boutique in size, but not in scope, Grant Cooper’s collective partnership applies decades of hard-won executive search expertise to its search engagements.