The Inclusion Dividend Book Summary - The Inclusion Dividend Book explained in key points

The Inclusion Dividend summary

Mark Kaplan and Mason Donovan

Why Investing in Diversity and Inclusion Pays Off

3.6 (28 ratings)
10 mins

Brief summary

The Inclusion Dividend by Mark Kaplan and Mason Donovan is a business book that argues that creating a diverse and inclusive workplace leads to better business outcomes and increased innovation. It provides actionable strategies for implementing inclusivity in an organization.

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    The Inclusion Dividend
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    While a meritocracy may be seen as the basis for successful businesses, the numbers suggest otherwise.

    Have you ever had the disappointing experience of putting in long hours and being the best in your workplace, only to discover that success doesn’t always boil down to hard work? That’s because while the idea of meritocracy is deeply engrained in the business world, it might not be the reality.

    But what is a meritocracy exactly?

    It’s the long-held belief that hard work will be rewarded. In fact, it’s even the basis of the American Dream – the idea that anyone can reap the benefits of a rewarding and comfortable life by putting in the necessary work.

    So, if you asked a board member of a Fortune 1000 company whether their corporation abides by a meritocratic system they would naturally say yes. They would maintain that employees are hired, promoted and kept on board solely on account of their abilities.

    Unfortunately, this claim doesn’t quite align with reality. For instance, in the United States, about half the population is female, but a census conducted in 2010 by Catalyst found that women only accounted for 15% of all executive positions at Fortune 500 companies. When women were asked why they thought this was, they said the problem was due to a lack of opportunities for promotion and respect.

    So, now you know a meritocratic system doesn’t exist, but did you know that low diversity is actually bad for business?

    Just consider the fact that global corporations spend about $8 billion annually to foster a more inclusive corporate culture. They don’t just do it to avoid discrimination lawsuits, but because it makes them money.

    For instance, take the companies listed on Standard and Poor’s 500 stock index. They’re profitable companies that brought in an 89% return on their investments over a three-year period. But the S&P corporations that also made it onto Working Mother’s 100 top companies for inclusion brought back 98% on every dollar invested!

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    What is The Inclusion Dividend about?

    “I’m not sexist, it’s just that the top candidates are all guys.” “I don’t believe in quotas – surely you should pick the best person for the job, whatever the colour of their skin?” If you’ve ever had thoughts like these, challenge your assumptions with The Inclusion Dividend (2013). It explains how diversity and inclusion actually boost the productivity and business success of any company, while presenting a guide to transforming your workplace for the good.

    Best quote from The Inclusion Dividend

    Taller men earn, on average, about $800 more a year per inch of height from five feet seven inches to six foot three inches.

    —Mark Kaplan and Mason Donovan
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    Who should read The Inclusion Dividend?

    • Leaders who want to take the success of their organizations to the next level
    • Anyone interested in the economic incentives for diversity
    • Executives who have wondered why diverse and inclusive companies perform so well

    About the Author

    Mark Kaplan is a consultant who has specialized in management since 1986. He holds a master’s degree in HR development and is a prolific writer on diversity in management.

    Mason Donovan is a consultant who has contributed his services to most of the Fortune 500 companies. He holds a master’s degree in international business.

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