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How to Include Company Leadership in Your Diversity Efforts

The Importance of Diversity in the C-Suite

In our last blog “Can Diversity Be a Strategic Advantage to Organizations?” (read the blog here), we discussed some of the challenges of diversity. One of those challenges was getting everyone involved in diversity efforts, most importantly, the C-Suite.

When it comes to the importance of diversity in the C-Suite, there are a few key points to keep in mind. First, having a diverse group of leaders can help educate the rest of the company on the importance of inclusion and diversity. Secondly, a more diverse leadership can help bring different perspectives and solutions to problems, which can ultimately lead to better company performance. Finally, as more companies focus on diversity and inclusion, it is important for leaders in the C-suite to set an example and be vocal advocates for these values.

Women make up 56 percent of front-line employees but only 29 percent of the C-suite, according to the Gartner 2021 Leadership Progression and Diversity Survey, which queried 3,500 employees across 24 industries on the topic in February 2021. Black and Indigenous people and other people of color (BIPOC) make up 31 percent of front-line workers, but only 17 percent of the C-suite (www.shrm.org).

It’s critically important that the C-Suite reflects the diversity of the customers and employees it serves. The makeup of a company’s leadership affects all aspects of its business, from the products it creates to the way it communicates with customers. That’s why it’s important for businesses to not only recruit a diverse range of employees, but also to educate their leaders about the importance of diversity. Too often, people in positions of power are unaware of the benefits that come from having a more diverse workplace. As a result, they make decisions that don’t take into account the needs and wants of all their customers.

It is no secret that businesses with more diverse leadership teams perform better financially. A study by McKinsey & Company found that organizations with the most racially and ethnically diverse executive teams were 35% more likely to have financial returns above their national industry medians. The same study also found that gender-diverse executive teams were 15% more likely to have financial returns above their national industry medians.

So, what’s stopping businesses from having more diverse executive teams? One of the biggest factors is a lack of education among company leaders about the importance of diversity. Too often, decision-makers rely on their own personal experiences and biases when making hiring decisions. As a result, they tend to hire people who are similar to them, which limits diversity in the workplace.

There is a growing body of research that suggests that a more diverse C-suite can lead to a more successful company. Having leaders from different backgrounds can help educate the rest of the company on different cultures, values, and ways of thinking. Additionally, a diverse C-suite can provide a more accurate representation of the company’s customer base and help make better decisions when it comes to product development and marketing.

It’s not just important for businesses to have diversity in their executive ranks; it’s also important for them to educate their leaders on the importance of diversity. Too often, companies promote people into leadership positions without giving them any training on how to be effective leaders. A recent study by the Harvard Business School found that only 25 percent of companies offer any type of diversity training for their managers. This is unacceptable, and XcelMil can help with the other 75 percent.

Why Company Leaders Need Diversity Education

Leaders in any field should be aware of the value that diversity brings to an organization. A diverse workplace is one where employees from different backgrounds, races, genders, and religions can come together and share their unique perspectives. This can lead to better problem solving and a more innovative company culture.

Unfortunately, many leaders are not aware of the importance of diversity or how to create a more diverse workplace. This is where diversity education comes in. Diversity education teaches leaders about the benefits of diversity and how to create an inclusive environment where all employees feel welcome and valued.

Diversity education is important for leaders at all levels, but it is especially important for those in positions of power. They need to understand that creating a diverse workplace is not only good for business, but it is also the right thing to do.

Many people would agree that a diverse and inclusive workplace is great. It’s been shown to lead to better employee retention and recruiting. But what many people don’t realize is that organizational leaders need diversity education just as much as everyone else in the company. Leaders play a critical role in setting the tone for the entire organization. They need to be aware of their own biases and understand how to create an environment where everyone can feel comfortable sharing their ideas.

Leaders also need to be conscious of the way they communicate with different groups of people. For example, they might use more formal language when speaking with someone from a more traditional background, or they might use more casual language when speaking with someone who is younger. It’s important to be aware of these differences and adjust your communication style accordingly.

The Sum of All Diversity Efforts

Cultural change is a critical part of creating an inclusive and equitable workplace. Leaders must be intentional about developing and promoting a culture that celebrates diversity and inclusion. This requires a commitment to ongoing education and engagement around the issues of equity and inclusion. It also necessitates an openness to change, both individually and organizationally. Culture is the sum of all the things we do and say – it’s the way we work together every day. To create a truly inclusive culture, leaders must be willing to model behaviors that reflect our values, listen to employees from all walks of life, and take action when they see or hear something that isn’t right.

In order for companies to be successful and grow, they need to have a workforce that is reflective of the society in which they operate. Acknowledging this, many organizations must make concerted efforts to increase diversity and inclusion within their ranks. While these initiatives can take many different forms, there are three key elements that should be at the heart of any diversity and inclusion program: cultural competency, leadership, and equity.

Cultural competency is the foundation of any effective diversity and inclusion initiative. Leaders must be committed to creating an environment where all employees feel valued and respected. This includes understanding the unique needs of each group, and being open to new perspectives.

Inclusion goes beyond simply including people from diverse backgrounds. It requires actively seeking out input from everyone affected by a decision, then taking steps to implement their suggestions. Leaders must be willing to make changes that will benefit everyone, not just certain groups.

Equity is key to creating an inclusive environment. Organizations must address systemic inequalities that have led to disparities in opportunities and outcomes.

Creating a corporate culture that is open and welcoming to all employees is essential and necessary. This means establishing clear values and standards that reflect the organization’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. Leaders must also be champions for change, ensuring that everyone in the company understands why diversity and inclusion are important, and how everyone can contribute to making the workplace more inclusive.

Despite countless diversity and inclusion programs, organizations are still struggling to create equitable and inclusive environments. Leaders must take a holistic and systemic approach to diversity and inclusion in order to achieve meaningful change. XcelMil specializes in developing effective and dynamic DEI programs and can fine tune your organization’s strategy.

 

How diverse is your C-Suite?

How do you feel about your organization’s diversity and inclusion goals?

Book a consultation with us now! Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions. We would love to hear from you. Email at info@xcelmil.com.

Click here https://xcelmil.com/xcelmil-coaching-and-consulting-services/ to learn more about our services. Twitter: https://twitter.com/GraticMelody

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/melodygraticconsulting/

XcelMil, LLC is a certified Minority-Woman and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business specializing in Executive Management Consulting and Leadership Development Training.

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Can Diversity Be a Strategic Advantage to Organizations?

In the business world, diversity should be seen as a strategic advantage. Why? It’s quite simple. Diverse organizations are better able to innovate and find new solutions to problems. Additionally, they are more likely to be successful in attracting and retaining talent. However, even with the positive effects of having a diverse workforce, many people remain skeptical of the benefits. Some managers worry it will lead to division and conflict. Yet, research clearly shows diversity can be a key ingredient for organizational success.

Diversity Defined

Diversity in the workplace has been a hot button issue for many years. What does it mean, and how can it be achieved? The definition of diversity is broad, but at its core, it refers to inclusion and equity of everyone. When a company embraces diversity, it means everyone in the organization is treated fairly and has an opportunity to succeed, regardless of their background or personal characteristics. This includes race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, age, and disability status.

We should not forget diversity is displayed inwardly and outwardly. Employers often think of external physical, geographic or socioeconomic traits, however, these are not the only elements to a diverse workforce. While these attributes are sometimes the most obvious, they are not the only traits. Diversity of thought, personality, professional experience and education can all bring amazing benefits to a stagnant organization and provide fresh ideas, insight, and perspectives.

There are many reasons why embracing diversity is important. First and foremost, it’s the right thing to do. Every individual deserves to be treated with respect and dignity. Secondly, a diverse workforce is more innovative and creative. Team members from different backgrounds bring different perspectives to the table, which leads to better problem solving and improved outcomes.

Research has shown a diverse workforce can be beneficial for businesses. A study by McKinsey & Company found companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity were 35% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians. Even more, a study by Harvard Business Review found 83% of employees said they would prefer to work in a company with a diverse workforce.

While employers are beginning to realize the importance of workplace diversity and are making efforts to create more inclusive workplaces, there is still a lot of progress to be made.

The Power (and Benefits) of Diversity

The power of diversity is often overlooked in our society. A recent study found a more diverse workplace leads to better decision making and problem solving. The study, conducted by the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, looked at data from over 2,000 companies around the world. It found those with gender diversity were 15% more likely to have returns above their industry median.

Why is this? The study’s authors say that having a diverse team allows for different ways of thinking and creates a more competitive environment. “Inclusive environments – where employees feel like they can be themselves – unleash the power of cognitive diversity,” said Scott Page, the lead author of the study.

When it comes to the workforce, diversity is a key ingredient for success. A recent study by McKinsey found companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are better at problem solving and can come up with more innovative ideas.

Additionally, a diverse team reflects the customer base a company serves, making it better equipped to understand and cater to its needs. And finally, when teams come from different cultures, they can learn from each other and develop new ways of working together.

Challenges of Diversity

When most people think of diversity, they may think of the different races, religions, and cultures that make up a community. However, diversity extends beyond those visible characteristics to include all the different ways people experience life.

Though it is often claimed diversity is a strength, in practice it can be difficult to manage. For one thing, achieving diversity can be challenging because it requires effort from everyone involved. It is also difficult to maintain because it can be easy for people to become complacent or forget why diversity matters in the first place.

How organizations handle diversity has a significant impact on their employees. A study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that when organizations have diversity and inclusion initiatives in place, employees are more satisfied with their jobs, feel that their voices are heard, and are more engaged in their work.

Despite these benefits, many organizations struggle to create an inclusive environment. According to the 2016 Deloitte report “The State of Inclusion in the U.S. Workplace”, only 30 percent of survey respondents reported that their company was doing a good job at creating an inclusive environment.

There are several reasons for this disparity. One key reason is many organizations lack the necessary data to understand the scope of the diversity challenge they face. Many people would agree embracing diversity is important for both personal and professional growth. However, statistics show minorities are often underrepresented in corporate America. A recent study conducted by the Executive Leadership Council found only 3 percent of senior executive officers at Fortune 500 companies are Black, and 5 percent are Hispanic.

There are many factors that contribute to this lack of diversity, including a lack of access to education and networking opportunities, as well as unconscious bias on the part of recruiters and hiring managers. To increase diversity in the workplace, businesses must first acknowledge the challenges involved and make a concerted effort to overcome them.

Diversity Management and Return on Investment

The business case for diversity management is well established. In fact, there are a number of studies that show a positive correlation between diversity and organizational success. In order for businesses to remain competitive in the global marketplace, it is important they embrace diversity management practices.

Diversity management refers to the proactive steps employers take to create and maintain a workplace that respects and values the individual differences of employees. Employers who want to reap the benefits of diversity must first understand embracing diversity is not just about checking a box or ticking off a list of goals.

There is a growing body of evidence to suggest diversity management initiatives can lead to a significant return on investment (ROI) for employers. The ROI of diversity management initiatives comes from multiple sources, including increased employee productivity, creativity, and innovation, reduced turnover and recruitment costs, and enhanced customer satisfaction.

In order to achieve a successful ROI from diversity management initiatives, employers must first assess their current state of diversity and identify areas where they can improve. Once the areas of improvement have been identified, employers can put in place specific strategies and programs to address these areas.

Finally, it is important to track the progress of these initiatives over time and make changes as needed in order to continue achieving positive results.

Another study by SHRM found nearly 60 percent of organizations report a positive ROI for their diversity and inclusion initiatives. The study also found when properly executed, diversity management can improve organizational performance in a number of ways, including increased innovation, better problem solving, and enhanced employee engagement.

Given these findings, it’s no surprise an increasing number of employers are making diversity and inclusion a top priority. However, achieving success in this area can be challenging, and many organizations find themselves struggling to create an effective diversity and inclusion program. XcelMil can help in this area, it is one of our specialties.

Conclusion

Diversity is a strategic advantage to organizations. By leveraging the unique perspectives and experiences of employees from different backgrounds, companies can create a more innovative and productive workplace. Diversity also helps organizations better understand their customers and respond to changing trends. By embracing diversity, companies can access new markets, tap into new sources of talent, and improve their bottom line. To reap the benefits of diversity, organizations must create an inclusive environment where everyone feels welcome and valued. Only then will they be able to capitalize on the innovative ideas and perspectives that diverse employees bring to the table.

Does your organization have a fully developed DEI strategy or plan?

 

Book a consultation with us now! Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions. We would love to hear from you. Email at info@xcelmil.com.

Click here https://xcelmil.com/xcelmil-coaching-and-consulting-services/ to learn more about our services. Twitter: https://twitter.com/GraticMelody

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/melodygraticconsulting/

XcelMil, LLC is a certified Minority-Woman and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business specializing in Executive Management Consulting and Leadership Development Training.