Diversity and inclusion efforts in the workplace are becoming increasingly less about a box that HR can check off, and more about how it can help drive business success.
“A diverse and inclusive workforce is necessary to drive innovation, foster creativity, and guide business strategies,” concluded a Forbes Insights survey of 332 senior executives. “Multiple voices lead to new ideas, new services, and new products, and encourage out-of-the-box thinking.
Diversity and inclusion have been a trending topic for several years now with HR industry expert Josh Bersin writing back in 2015 that “If you aren’t taking this topic seriously, you should be.”
Fast forward six years later and Bersin is calling diversity and inclusion the “challenge of the decade” for businesses while admitting, “Diversity and inclusion is not a simple topic.”
Companies that meet Bersin’s challenge may be rewarded.
Defining Diversity and Inclusion
There is no one definition for diversity and inclusion and you may find disagreements on what each word means inside any workplace.
In fact, Deloitte found in its “The Radical Transformation of Diversity and Inclusion: The Millennial Influence” report that there was “a generational gap that suggests that millennials view inclusion as having a culture of connectedness that facilitates teaming, collaboration, and professional growth. This is in stark contrast to prior generations who traditionally consider it from the perspectives of representation and assimilation.”
For definitions of diversity and inclusion we turn to Somen Mondal, co-founder and CEO of Ideal, a company that uses artificial intelligence to help companies make data-backed hiring decisions.
Writing in the Ideal Blog, Mondal says “Workplace diversity is understanding, accepting, and valuing differences between people including those:
- of different races, ethnicities, genders, ages, religions, disabilities, and sexual orientations
- with differences in education, personalities, skill sets, experiences, and knowledge bases
He also says that “Inclusion in the workplace is a collaborative, supportive, and respectful environment that increases the participation and contribution of all employees.”
Houston Companies Receive Diversity in Business Awards
In March, the Houston Business Journal honored companies that promote and advance diversity in the workplace at its 2021 Diversity in Business Awards live broadcast.
“It is important to note that we do not do diversity and inclusion work for the praise or the points. We invest in this work and do our best to lead in the space because we think it is right—right for our company culture, right for the industry, right for the communities where we are honored to serve and right for the people whose lives we seek to enrich,” said Indria Hollingsworth, South Central Region Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Manager for JE Dunn Construction, one of the 2021 Diversity in Business Awards winner.
A total of 53 companies were honored by the Houston Business Journal including:
Outstanding Diverse Organizations
- Small companies (10-99 employees): Greater Houston Black Chamber of Commerce; Greenberg Traurig LLP; Hancock Whitney; HOK; Houston Association of Realtors; Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Iapetus Holdings LLC; Jones Day; Lionstone Investments; McConnell & Jones LLP; Medical Bridges; NRL Mortgage; Potentia Workforce; Reconstruction of a Survivor; Wise Men Consultants.
- Medium companies (100-499 employees): Boys & Girls Club of Greater Houston; Briggs & Veselka Co.; Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP; Lopez Negrete Communications Inc.; Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP; Pariveda Solutions; RSM US LLP; The Awty International School.
- Large companies (500+ employees): Accenture; Amegy Bank; HCA Houston Healthcare; Lone Star College; YMCA of Greater Houston.
Outstanding Supplier Diversity
- Aon PLC; CenterPoint Energy; Houston First Corp.; Icon Information Consultants; JE Dunn Construction; Sysco Corp.
Outstanding Diversity Helping Hand
- Association of Chinese American Professionals - Diversity Summit; BakerRipley; City of Houston's Office of Business Opportunity; D. Samuels & Associates; Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce; Hello Alice; Houston Area Urban League; Houston Community College; Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Impact Hub Houston; Leadership Lady; LiftFund; Score Houston; Smith; The Veterans Infosource Project dba Women Veterans Business Center; TruFund Financial Services Inc.; University of Houston; Women’s Business Enterprise Alliance; Yogiños: Yoga for Youth.
How Diversity and Inclusion Impacts Profitability
McKinsey & Company released a report in 2020 that shows that diversity and inclusion can have an impact on your businesses bottom line.
The report, based on 2019 research from 1,000 companies over 15 countries, found that:
- Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 25 percent more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile—up from 21 percent in 2017 and 15 percent in 2014.
- Companies in the top quartile for ethnic and cultural diversity outperformed those in the fourth quartile by 36 percent in profitability, slightly up from 33 percent in 2017 and 35 percent in 2014.
“Our latest analysis reaffirms the strong business case for both gender diversity and ethnic and cultural diversity in corporate leadership—and shows that this business case continues to strengthen. The most diverse companies are now more likely than ever to outperform less diverse peers on profitability,” the report summarized.
Diversity and Inclusion Best Practices
The McKinsey & Company found that a common thread between the report’s most diverse companies was a systematic approach and bold steps to strengthen inclusion.
The report says five HR “best practices” for diversity and inclusion can be drawn from the research:
- Ensure the Representation of Diverse Talent
Companies focus on advancing diverse talent into executive, management, and technical roles.
- Strengthen Leadership Accountability for Diversity and Inclusion
Companies place their core-business leaders and managers at the heart of the diversity and inclusion effort.
- Enable Equality of Opportunity Through Transparency
Companies ensure a level playing field in advancement and opportunity.
- Promote Openness and Tackle Microaggressions
Companies have a zero-tolerance policy for discriminatory behavior.
- Foster Belonging Through Unequivocal Support for Diversity
Companies build a culture where all employees feel they can bring their whole selves to work.
Contact Employer Flexible today to find out how we can develop a comprehensive HR plan that’s tailored to your unique needs.