Is Diversity and Inclusion part of your business model?

Illustration showing silhouettes of a diverse group of people.

Two of the most popular concepts trending today, in both politics and business, are diversity and inclusion. Driving these trending concepts is the 71 million strong Millennial generation who, as you can see from the chart below, is entering the workforce and climbing their way into managerial roles.

Chart showing generations and their birth date ranges

It is projected that Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce in the next ten to fifteen years.

What this means for the business world is a significant culture shift from one where upper management dictates how the company operates to one of diversity and inclusion in the decision-making process.

According to McKinsey’s 2015 “Diversity Matters” report, companies in the top quartile for inclusion on their executive teams were 15% more likely to experience above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile. By 2018, that number had risen to 21%.

However, achieving diversity has been a challenge for most companies. According to Pamela Newkirk, author of “Diversity Inc.: The Failed Promise of a Billion-Dollar Industry,” who has spent over thirty years in the fields of journalism and higher education; writes that despite the billions of dollars spent to develop diversity programs their effectiveness in attracting diverse employees is negligible. The programs are designed more to defend against discrimination law suits than to attract diverse groups of employees. An interview and some interesting statistics can be found on NPR’s Marketplace.

So, what do diversity and inclusion mean?

Millennials view inclusion in the workplace as a supportive environment that gives a voice to all different perspectives on a given issue, from the leadership to the newest hires. It is their perception that this type of diversity is what fosters true innovation, which is one of the most important job skills to possess.

But, it is not just millennials who are realizing the benefits of diversity and inclusion. A new book, Differences that Make a Difference: Insights from 100 Leaders features a series of interviews with 160 CEOs and top leaders—80 male, 80 female—from industry, government, academia and the nonprofit world about their experiences with the direct, measurable effects of inclusion on innovation and their organizations’ success. Based on these interviews, they conclude:

  • Diversity and inclusion do make a tangible difference
  • Organizations that are not doing the work of keeping diversity and inclusion alive and thriving are missing out on vital opportunities.

Here is what just a few of the interviewed leaders have to say:

REED HASTINGS, CEO of Netflix, sees the inclusion issue as one that is seminal to any well-founded process of decision-making. He’s a strong believer in blinding the interview process.

MICHELLE LEE Former Under Secretary of Commerce and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the first woman and person of color to hold this position believes training and mentoring are key because that’s what opens the door for talented people to shine.

ERIC SCHMIDT, former CEO of Google and director of its holding company Alphabet, is the first to agree that the problem is not solved—instead, it is “in the process of being solved.”

DAN SCHULMAN, President and CEO of Paypal, which closed a $3-million pay gap in record time in 2019, believes inclusion should not be an objective in and of itself, but part of a creative vision and mission that is inspiring, and therefore naturally inclusive, enough to appeal to the best and the brightest.

NANCY BROWN, CEO of the American Heart Association, says that when we focus on inclusion, our dialogue and outlook are richer, and our perspectives are better.

Contrary to conventional business wisdom, which tells us that entrepreneurs are society’s primary source of innovation, companies are realizing that diverse groups of employees are the key to innovative ideas. By including all employees in the decision-making process, the diverse ethnic backgrounds and ideologic thinking not only bring new ideas to the table, but the inclusion also builds acceptance and team loyalty.

As we have mentioned in past newsletters, making sure that your company is keeping up with current trends and technology is a significant link to success. To encourage innovation, you might try the following steps.

Use your imagination. Schedule time to just let it go wild. Don’t dismiss any ideas that come to mind. Just let your brain roam, seeing the situation from multiple angles.

Be clear. Gain clarity on the situation. If you don’t ask the right questions, you won’t get answers. Or, if you focus on solutions to a minor problem, how does the outcome compare to focusing on an innovative way to overcome a bigger problem?

Have faith. Don’t consider failure before you’re even out of the gate. You’ll be surprised at how far you’ll get with creativity if you believe it will happen.

Take action. No matter how great your idea, if you don’t put it into action, it’ll remain just that: an idea — not a great solution. You’ll also get jazzed about implementing creative ideas, seeing them come to fruition and impacting your job—which will fuel even more creativity.

At Business Finance Corporation, we believe in applying innovative solutions to your cash flow management. For information on how we can help reduce your accounts receivables and put cash in your pocket, call David Cabral or Albert Delgado at 702-947-3800.