It’s likely that all business leaders will agree that establishing an effective Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Strategy is the right thing to do for their organization. It makes logical sense to provide employment and advancement opportunities for people of all races, codes and creeds. It also makes sense to provide an environment where all people are encouraged to flourish.
However, there are two types of strategies in the business game: those that are the right thing to do, and those that are tied to strategic objectives.
Only one of these actually gets done.
With this knowledge, how can the proactive talent advisor ensure that their organization’s D&I Strategy becomes (and remains) a priority that gets the focus and attention it needs to ensure implementation?
Provide data, information and resources to help executives make the connection between successful D&I strategies and positive impact on the bottom line.
To remain competitive in the global economy, it will be necessary for businesses to embrace and reflect the diversity of the their customers, the workforce, and the global population – which are all becoming increasingly diverse.
While this diversity can pose some organizational challenges, research reveals that it can also create opportunities, including:
- A diverse and inclusive workforce is crucial for companies that want to attract and retain top talent. – Forbes Insights
- Diverse teams exhibit a higher level of creativity and a broader thought process. – (Henley Management College, UK: Ford Germany)
- A diverse workforce representative of target customers and partners is more likely to understand the unique requirements of different markets. – Cisco, Global Diversity Primer
- 96% of executives feel that having a diverse and inclusive workforce leads to higher employee engagement and improved business results. – Korn Ferry
Make the business case for why a defined D&I strategy is essential to your organization’s success.
Nothing in life is free. A Diversity and Inclusion Strategy will require an investment of money, time and resources to ensure success. Because of this, talent advisors must build a business case to get executive buy-in and share the ROI of successful implementation. There are four steps in building a successful business case:
- Define the problem – What will happen if the organization does not implement a D&I Strategy? What opportunities will be missed?
- Use data to quantify how the problem impacts business results – If a D&I Strategy is not implemented, what will this cost the organization in terms of revenue, profit, productivity, quality and/or reputation?
- Evaluate solutions and make a recommendation – If your organization currently does not have a D&I Strategy in place, start small. Break the strategy up into phases to get executives to see the possibilities.
- Quantify how the recommended solution positively impacts results – Detail how a successful implementation of the D&I Strategy will enable the company to make more money, increase customer satisfaction, improve retention, improve engagement, etc.
Establish D&I metrics to raise visibility and ensure accountability for results.
Metrics are necessary in order to gain clarity and commitment from leadership, and they must be tied to organizational outcomes to ensure focus. According to recent research conducted by i4cp, high performing organizations are more likely to directly connect D&I efforts to business outcomes than low performing organizations (54% vs. 41% of low-performers).
Developing and sustaining a culture that is supportive of diversity and inclusion efforts will take time, and will require the understanding and commitment of all employees. However, any success achieved will be directly tied to level of support and involvement of those at the executive level.
Tie Diversity and Inclusion Strategy to strategic objectives to ensure that it gets done. And to get the C-suite on board, make the objectives meaningful, measurable and personal. What gets measured (and incentivized) gets done.
Play the game to win!