So why haven’t more companies implemented diversity and inclusion programs within their organization? I suspect it’s because they don’t know what D&I development is, or how to effectively integrate this new idea into their business.

Diversity vs. Inclusion?

For some clarity, The Diversity Journal defines diversity as, all the ways we differ, some of those differences we are born with, some we can see, and some we cannot. Inclusion involves creating an environment where diverse people feel involved, respected and connected. A successful diversity and inclusion business development plan harnesses individual difference to creates business value and locate opportunities.  It may seem simple but it can be difficult to know where to start.

The first step is to hire for diversity. Find talent in a diverse group of people and build a culture which attract those individuals to your organization. The Center for Talent Innovation  found that the key to a successful diversity and inclusion program lies in:

  1. Inclusive leaders
  2. Authenticity
  3. Networking and Visibility
  4. Clear Career paths

Employees need to the organizational leaders supporting the cause in an authentic and visible manner. They also need to be able to see a clear career path to promotion and believe that they can get it. But you don’t have to imagine what a strong D&I integrated organization would look like. Many companies have already embraced the change and are currently acting. Diversity and inclusion have both been such hot button issues lately, that companies who don’t start moving in a better direction will not only lose out on great talent, but also on the potential higher financial return.

 

Why is SBC talking about diversity and inclusion? Why is diversity and inclusion to the bottom line?

Here at Sustainable Business Consulting we support companies in realizing transformative change through their CSR efforts. Most would suspect that we focus primarily on environmental efforts but as all CSR efforts become increasingly interwoven we feel it’s critical to recognize opportunities presented through companies with strong diversity and inclusion. According to a report published by McKinsey, businesses with gender, ethnic and racial diversity are at least 15% more likely to experience above-average financial returns. Furthermore, companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to experience greater financial returns. Diversity and Inclusion for business development—it’s not just right, it’s profitable. How’s that for a strong business case on creating an inclusive diverse work environment?

Not only do we believe in the business value of creating a strong, diverse and inclusive background, we also believe in the value to your workers. Having employees of diverse backgrounds, races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, etc. will help create a powerful sense of culture around your mission. It will help ideas flow more easily and with higher quality. Interdisciplinary knowledge and walks of life are crucial to the holistic success of a company.  We have set out as a company to advocate for those who don’t feel that they can’t for themselves and we are dedicated to not only making our office diverse, safe and inclusive but urging others to as well.

 

What are some things that companies are doing to accomplish this?

Johnson and Johnson launched a live video conference for employees on mutual perceptions, diversity, and respect where 100% of the survey participants reported the conference was the most valuable training they had ever had.

Sodexo was recognized as one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers for two years in a row. They have made commitments on all levels of the organization to not overlook their most talented and resilient team members by providing clear paths to promotions for all employees.

Ford Motor Company’s Carla Preston was awarded a Minority Supplier Development Leader. Preston’s efforts in diversity and inclusion added 1.08 million in new business to diverse suppliers and accounted for 4.8 million in spend for Ford.

The Credit Suisse regional division in Asia created a program called, The Edge, which targeted middle class senior woman. The Edge conference helps woman become better acquainted with the company’s corporate culture and gain insight on how they can better achieve their career goals. 61% of female directors and 37% of female vice presidents have participated thus far.

These are just a few of the many ways that businesses have authentically integrated diversity and inclusion into their company’s values and culture. Some have utilized inclusive leaders, networking and visibility, and/or clear career goals to realize significant financial gain.

In this serious time of division, it’s crucial to stand out as a leader for what you believe in and its also time for businesses to start being catalysts for change. We at SBC urge you to analyze your current strategy and branch out, support those that may feel marginalized in your organization and make the workplace a safer and better place to be. We address these issues with clients on a daily basis and have now taken a vow to challenge all of our clients with those hard questions about diversity and inclusion strategies. Take the first step—if you are struggling to get started, give us a call!

 

Looking for more on why diversity and inclusion is so important? Check out this Forbes study on Innovation through Diversity.