Why is it imperative that businesses build a strong diversity and inclusion practice? How can a company culture of inclusion create business opportunity?
So it’s 2018, and we shouldn’t still be debating the value of Diversity and Inclusion. All you have to do is look at the data. Multiple studies confirm the economic value of diverse teams and organizations. In today’s hyper-competitive global economy, an organization that is authentically inclusive of diverse people is going to benefit from the diverse perspectives those people bring to solving a problem, building a product, serving a customer, and running a team.
Some organizations got the diversity memo but have continued to fall short. They hire diverse candidates only have them leave quickly, largely due to a toxic work environment fueled by a company culture in which they aren’t included. Lip service paid to “diversity” without the work of corporate culture inclusion is expensive and inauthentic at best.
Authentic inclusivity has to be intentional. It must be an imperative of the leadership of the organization. A company must look at its own culture with an unyielding eye to identify their own shortcomings. Inclusivity goals must be established, yes, but more importantly, realistic methodologies in achieving those goals must be charted, measured, and reported. Those responsible for achieving those goals must be held accountable in some substantive way.
Authentic inclusivity is not just internal to an organization. It must extend to the vendors and business partners that an organization chooses to work with. Supplier Diversity initiatives must be empowered to provide diverse business owners with the opportunity to bid on contracts. As the definition of diverse vendor expands, diverse spend targets should be expanded proportionally.
A strong diversity and inclusion practice is key to wrangling all of these moving parts. Strong D&I flows through the selection of board members and is embedded in hiring decisions. Strong D&I is a key factor in fostering innovation and capturing additional economic value. Strong D&I is good business.