The Organizational Impact of Diversity: More than Numbers and Statements
During this Facebook Live event for the Small Business Leadership Conference, Linda Bond Edwards answered questions about diversity and inclusion in the workplace, reviewed best practices, and offered tips and expert advice.
By July 2017, more than 300 CEOs of mostly Fortune 500 companies had signed on to the CEO Action for Diversity Pledge, led by Price Waterhouse CEO Tim Ryan. The number of participating companies has increased since that time and now includes more than 20 Florida based companies, according to the CEO Action for Diversity website. Despite the initial commitment, these CEOs understand that there is much work to be done for their organizations to experience the innovation, growth and societal improvement that comes with having a diverse workforce. This organization has developed training and other resources to expand their D&I efforts.
Some organizations have not made a public pledge, but hopefully understand the business imperative associated with diversity and inclusion. Most organizations have diverse stakeholders but do not address issues that affect those stakeholders. This failure can have a negative impact on an organization’s bottom line. Open, frank conversations about race and gender, including sexual orientation can be the start to breaking down spoken and unspoken barriers that can lead to broader based business decisions. Every individual can start with acknowledging their own biases and how that bias manifests itself in decision making. When leaders make a commitment to diversity and inclusion followed by action, the organization moves. When leaders look around and nearly every person in a meeting looks like them, they ought to have the courage to ask whether the makeup of the group personifies the organization’s diversity and inclusion commitment.
During the event, Edwards discussed some reasons why diversity and inclusion will not be woven into the fabric of an organization until the leaders do more than hire a diversity and inclusion officer and make a statement about their commitment.