Diversity in the workplace is about embracing the view that input from different types of people is critical to move your company forward. Whether they are of different genders, age, ethnicity or cultures, people’s life experiences are different as a result, and those differences shape their thought processes and decision-making. Thus, embracing diverse or different cultures results in colleagues that are more aware of, and respectful of, each other’s differences and creates a wide array of opportunities.

A boon. And the payoff is apparent. According to McKinsey & Co. research, companies ranking in the top quartile of executive board diversity were 35% more likely to financially outperform the industry medians. Other research finds that inclusive teams make better business decisions 87% of the time. Of course, the impact to the bottom line is then apparent.

The benefits are clear at lower levels within companies as well. Research from MIT shows diverse teams outperform homogenous teams every time.

But it is not just about the money or the performance.

“Diverse workforces drive empathy and give different voices more airtime when solving problems. This can have far reaching effects when it comes to business decisions and give a greater weight to differing views and create an environment that is a more realistic and far reaching than a homogenous group,” according to recent research from the Pew Institute.

Most companies are very keen to support workplace diversity but are careful to say that it should not be a factor in hiring and promotions. According to Pew, three-quarters of Americans say it is very or somewhat important for companies and organizations to promote racial and ethnic diversity in their workplaces.

Within CW programs. Your company is most likely already tracking diversity spend to drive the widest pool of the best candidates, but it may have a gap when it comes to its nonemployee workforce. Tracking diversity as a percentage of contingent workforce spend is not the norm, but it could be a great opportunity.

In fact, buyer organizations and staffing firms alike are creating positions and departments devoted to diversity, with roles like chief diversity officer; head of inclusion and diversity; director, diversity and inclusion; diversity analytics manager; and global head of supplier diversity showing up in the marketplace. Do you know who at your company is in charge of this effort and how you can work with them to promote diversity in your flexible workforce? Partnering with your diversity colleagues is key to success.

And then there’s the supplier side of the equation, as diverse hiring and diverse suppliers go hand in hand. Staffing Industry Analysts publishes a list of diversity suppliers, which in 2019 includes 157 staffing firms and “offers an aerial view of diversity suppliers and where they are adding value in business and society while bridging critical industry gaps as service partners,” said SIA’s Subadhra R. Sriram, editor and publisher.

Diversity can help you financially outperform industry medians, recruit from the widest possible demographic, and make you and your company better corporate citizens. Having a plan and partnering with your diversity colleagues and staffing suppliers can make you a diversity destination, promote your brand in a meaningful way and widen your funnel to get you the best talent available. Exploring diversity in your CW program is not only the right thing to do but will also impact your company’s future in a big way.