Employees increasingly expect the companies they work for to care about more than just the bottom line. What’s more, they expect companies to practice responsibility in the realm of philanthropy, the environment and social justice. A year of intense protest and political activity in 2020 sparked a number of companies to draft statements and new policies that reflected an increasing commitment to racial justice and social issues.
All of these new pressures on corporate America have naturally raised important questions about creating a meaningful approach to diversity and inclusion — and one that goes beyond simple slogans and lip service to the cause of social justice. For many companies, that means creating a comprehensive approach to diversity and inclusion.
How D&I Affects the Bottom Line
Making the matter of crafting a strong approach to diversity and inclusion even more pertinent is that studies increasingly show that taking a proactive approach to D&I means a positive impact to the bottom line.
McKinsey recently compiled a report on the tangible monetary benefits of diversity and inclusion on the corporate level and found that companies that pay attention to D&I are typically more profitable than others. They found that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on their executive teams outperformed companies in the lowest quartile by 21%. For ethnic and cultural diversity, the top quartile outperformed the bottom by 33%.
Crafting an Effective “Diversity and Inclusion” Statement
A D&I statement is an incredible way to help align your diversity goals to your identity as a company and your business goals. Much like a mission statement, it allows a company to reflect on how its culture and values reflect on business operations.
The format of a D&I is up to you but consider the following:
- Include elements of this statement in your company’s on-boarding and training materials.
- Commit to revisiting the statement yearly
- Institute metrics or KPIs and communicate them regularly to your staff
- Employ a team or working group model to get buy in for your D&I initiative
Getting Buy-In for Your D&I Initiative
Successful diversity initiatives rely on leadership and buy-in at all levels of the company, including:
- A commitment to diverse hiring
- Inclusive processes that involve many perspectives from within the company
- Accountability and metrics to demonstrate the program is meeting outlined benchmarks
Making your diversity and inclusion strategy is a team effort can be a powerful way to build cohesion, buy-in and ultimate success. Consider creating a working group to formulate ideas, draft a D&I statement and solicit internal feedback.
Cultivate Diversity on Multiple Fronts
Other ideas on where you can boost diversity:
- Procurement Commitments: Commit to sourcing materials from underserved populations. For example, Salesforce recently committed to spending $100 million with Black-owned businesses over the next three years and commit to a 25% year-over-year growth in spending with minority-owned businesses.
- Language Matters: Look at internal and external communications such as training, newsletters and any other company communications to see if there are opportunities to make language more inclusive.
- Website Accessibility: Make sure that your website is accessible to all users, including those with visual and auditory impairments and older adults. Lighthouse from Google is a browser plugin that can help with this.
- Employee Resource Groups: These can be a great way of cultivating a sense of community and affinity among under-represented groups.