5 SIGNS YOU SHOULD INVEST IN DIVERSITY & INCLUSION
By Natalie J. Egan
Managing Diversity & Inclusion at an enterprise level has never been more challenging than it is today. Every time we open our phones we are flooded with stories of workplace bias, discrimination, sexual harassment, and more. It’s “Human Differences Gone Wrong”, and C-level executives and HR professionals are fully aware of the negative impact these things have on productivity and employee engagement.
What is not as well understood is the impact of embracing employee differences and the true ROI of building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture. Why? In reality there are historic three reasons, each informing the next in a negative feedback loop:
Lack of perceived need → Lack of innovation → Lack of data.
But D&I has become a top priority now; from the Board level at the biggest corporations in the world, to start-ups, non-profits, academic organizations, and other businesses of all sizes. This is why Translator, and many other exciting new tech start-ups are popping up everywhere: to respond to the incredible new demand. While the cycle is still early, we predict that D&I will be mission-critical, data-driven, and an integrated part of Leadership and Talent Development at every organization in the next two years. So we still have time, you might think. Our response would be no. If you wait to invest in your D&I strategy, you are going to be at a severe competitive disadvantage.
But we understand that getting buy-in from the Board isn’t always easy. Since starting Translator in 2016, we have interviewed hundreds of D&I leaders from organizations of all sizes. By listening to their challenges, we’ve identified a few warning signs that stand out and that should be brought to your Board’s attention when speaking about your D&I strategy.
1 – Low Employee Retention Rates
Everyone knows that demonstrating empathy is critical to customer retention and satisfaction. So why would we treat our employees differently? When management shows empathy for its employees, retention goes up, peer referrals increase, and so do sales!
2 – Everyone Looks The Same
Take a walk around the office and ask yourself if your team accurately reflects your customer and / or user base. If the answer is no, you are not optimizing for sales, product innovation, or recruiting opportunities.
3 – Workplace Conflict
Employee differences, gossip, hostile behavior, cliques, and other patterns of inappropriate behavior are clear signs of low inclusivity in the workplace. According to the New York Times bestselling author Joseph Grenny, the average employee wastes $1,500 and an 8-hour workday for every single difficult conversation they avoid.
4 – Poor Exit Interviews
Exit interviews are a powerful way to get feedback about your culture yet very few companies actually take them seriously. Check Glassdoor and social media sites for general sentiment analysis, and remember that for every one person that complains, 26 remain silent (Lee Resource).
5 – What D&I Strategy?
Don’t worry, you are not alone. Most companies don’t have a Diversity & Inclusion strategy. If they do, it is rarely well-aligned to the company’s top level strategic priorities. After all, D&I Is not about the tactics of “diversity and inclusion” – it’s about talent and leadership.