HR leaders are looking for that one magic bullet tactic to help sell the C-suite that inclusion is good for business, but it comes down to a comprehensive and integrated approach that ties directly back to the overall business strategy. What are the main objectives for your company and how can your inclusion program help reinforce those initiatives with tangible outcomes?
The most successful inclusion strategies are consistent, comprehensive, accountable and sustainable. Every CEO wants to see where company-wide initiatives impact the bottom line, which is why it is increasingly important to create inclusion programs that have a meaningful and measurable tie back to the overall business strategy.
The first step in creating a truly integrated program is to establish and address Key Employee Demographics Required for Growth (KEDRG).
This means looking first at “who works here?” versus “who we serve” and making sure the two demographics align. Truly forward-looking companies will also take into consideration “who will we serve” to account for rapidly changing demographics in emerging and existing markets. A company won’t be successful on it’s own unless it makes each demographic successful too. Understanding KEDRG creates a foundation for an integrated multi-year strategy that aligns metrics, activities, behaviors and relationships with internal and external stakeholders.
It’s important to point out that KEDRG is not just about hiring the right people, but also keeping them. Retention is a clear business case for inclusion because when people leave a company, clients tend to go with them. If the leadership of an organization understands this economic impact then they will be more willing to back up inclusion initiatives.
So what does this look like “in real life?”
A company we once met with, a multi-national law firm, was experiencing trouble retaining top talent female lawyers. This company decided that keeping their female workforce was a top business priority and therefore, created programs within the company to specifically address the unique needs of women lawyers given the traditional male dynamics of the profession. The initiative started from top management recognizing that women provide a unique perspective and diversity of thought that is beneficial and needed in their business strategy. From there the company created meaningful programs that added value to their female lawyers work-life fit such as alternative work programs, custom work tracks, on-ramping for women coming back from maternity leave, and various resource groups. The company’s rally cry is “First Be Successful” then the company will support that success, because reality is business comes first.
This is just one example, as every organization has different needs to address, but this points to a specific business case that relies on KEDRG to build an inclusive culture from the inside out. While no magic bullet for inclusion exists yet, understanding and identifying KEDRG goes a long way to put businesses on the right path.
Becoming an Inclusive Leader
Inclusion: The New Competitive Business Advantage
Are you tired of workplace diversity training that does not link to business? Are you tired of tactics that don’t drive business results? InclusionINC has inclusion training solutions and strategic consulting that link inclusion to employee engagement, productivity, innovation and retention, moving inclusion beyond tactics to a critical business strategy.