Diversity Is Your Competitive Advantage

We live in a time where we want instantaneous gratification, everything at our fingertips, right now, right here! That includes building diverse teams, even when it has not always been a focus for the company. Many organizations of recent are touting the hiring of a Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DE&I) leader, a diverse executive or board member. This is a great first step, but not a long-term solution. Why? DE&I is not about achieving a number, and it is not a short-term fix.

Building a culture that is tolerant, respectful and embraces different ideas is the right DE&I strategy. Why? DE&I is the right lever to achieve your long-term business strategy. Your customers and consumers are diverse, so to understand their needs, to develop the right products and services, the right service delivery, the right innovation culture, you must start by having a team that mirrors your customers and consumers.

Here are some ideas that can help lay the groundwork for the continued building of your team, so that all your employees can thrive and be successful. To develop the right DE&I strategy, there are many levers that you can pull:

  1. It starts with sponsorship from the top. Sponsorship, not to hire the token diverse executive, but to put in place the right components to support the hiring and development of diverse talent.
  2. Build the right, grassroots support. The best way to do this is to develop Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), led by employees, not senior executives.
  3. Develop an inclusive, supportive culture. Start by developing measures of success at all levels. Reinforce it through employee communications and reward mechanisms.
  4. Work with HR to develop the right tools in your succession planning process and your talent development. Make sure your leadership competencies are not biased towards a certain group. Make sure, as you develop these tools and processes, that they are inclusive of different backgrounds and experiences.
  5. Ensure your rewards systems are balanced and have no adverse impact.
  6. Celebrate differences, and publicly acknowledge that differences lead to better understanding of your customers and their needs.
  7. Ensure your innovation and product development processes embrace these differences.

Diversity can be a competitive advantage as most companies unsuccessfully focus on one or two key hires. We stand by ready to support you in this incredibly rewarding journey that will maximize your business outcomes.

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