Do Your Employees Reflect Your Market?
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 diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts 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.
This means looking at “who works here?” and “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 its own unless it makes each demographic successful too.
Understanding key employee demographics required for growth creates a foundation for an integrated multi-year strategy that aligns metrics, activities, behaviors, and relationships with and between internal and external stakeholders.
It’s important to point out that it’s not just about hiring the right people, but also about 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?”
Consider a multi-national law firm with a strategic business objective of growing market share among successful female executives. But the firm is experiencing trouble retaining its top-talent female lawyers. That’s a demographic that is important to the firm as it attempts to build market share among a female audience. Having more female execs on board provides an opportunity to better understand this market.
The firm identifies keeping its female workforce as a top business priority and creates programs within the company to specifically address the unique needs of women lawyers given the traditional male dynamics of the profession. The initiative starts at the top—recognizing that women provide a unique perspective and diversity of thought that is beneficial and needed in their business strategy. From there the company creates meaningful programs that added value to their female lawyers’ work-life needs such as alternative work programs, custom work tracks, on-ramping for women coming back from maternity leave, and various resource groups.
This is just one example. Every organization has different needs to address. But this points to a specific business case that relies on using key employee demographics required for growth to build an inclusive culture from the inside out.
What markets are you attempting to grow? Look around your workplace. Are members of those markets represented at all levels of the workplace from the board to the front line? If not, you have some work to do.
Identifying, and taking steps to understand and engage key employee segments, aligned with key customer—and future customer—segments goes a long way to putting businesses on the right path with their DEI efforts.
Are you tired of inclusion, diversity and equity learning that doesn't link to business? Are you tired of tactics that don’t drive business results? InclusionINC has inclusion and strategic consulting that link inclusion to employee engagement, productivity, innovation and retention, moving inclusion beyond tactics to a critical business strategy.