Diversity affects your bottom line, and you have plenty of resources at your disposal.
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Relationships are at the heart of business. Entrepreneurs are successful by maintaining relationships with their customers, suppliers, partners and families. But how often do you illuminate these relationships to identify possible inclusion gaps? Probably not too often unless there is a specific reason.
The current moment is causing many companies to review, reflect on, and take action against inclusion practices. This includes everyone from small businesses to businesses and entertainment institutions. America's Got Talent faced a backlash when actress and guest judge Gabrielle Union left the show and pointed out the need for greater involvement. Such an allegation undoubtedly affected ratings and ultimately earnings. Inclusion gaps can occur in the form of missing different perspectives (gender, race, sexual orientation) and can actually damage your end result. In McKinsey & Co.'s "Diversity Wins: How Inclusion Matters" report, they found evidence that inclusive practices represent a competitive advantage for companies. The Diversity Best Practices Inclusion Index lists companies such as Accenture, Verizon and Sodexo as pioneers in inclusion.
Entrepreneurs who pause to add diversity and inclusion primarily will benefit from this strategy. Given current racial tensions at the highest level, inclusion is paramount and is likely to affect your business whether you like it or not. Some of the negative impacts could be unjust advertising and declining sales. The positive effects, however, include innovative new products, affordable employer branding and higher sales.
Here you will proactively find three strategies to achieve more integration in your company.
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1. Take a position
Now is the time to review your company's mission and values to ensure that your business represents more than just sales. This is the right time to learn more about inclusive leadership. The new customer will examine your company closely before separating from its hard-earned dollars. Facebook, for example, is feeling the heat with the loss of advertising revenue ($ 7 billion and more) due to the dynamism of the #Stophateforprofit movement. Verizon, Coca-Cola and Unilever are among the companies that have spoken out against Facebook by withdrawing their advertising. Another example is Nike, speaking out against racial injustices and hugging Colin Kaepernick when other brands turned their backs. A strong message against ignoring racism in America was published in Nike's latest ad. Ben & Jerrys and Penzeys Spices have long been committed to equality. What you stand now will play a role in the future. So choose wisely.
2. Make your advisory board inclusive
The diversity of the boards has long been an opportunity for impact. Advisory boards are guiding principles for companies, but too often keep diversity at bay. Mellody Hobson, Co-CEO of Ariel Investments, campaigned for more diversity on the board. In a recent interview with CNBC, she suggested accountability, goal setting and incentives as strategies to combat inequality. The Alliance for Board Diversity research suggests that given the small number of minorities (Asian / Pacific Islanders, Spanish / Latin American, and African American / Black), there is plenty of room for change. Harvard Business Review suggests that deliberate steps to recruit different board members make economic sense. Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian was recently praised for resigning from the board, with the subsequent request to allow his seat to a black board member. Brave movements like this are just a start on the inclusive journey. Take into account the innovation that different perspectives can bring to your business results. Create an intentionally integrative board that uses different gender, race, sexual orientation, and cross-generational perspectives. Some companies are taking the approach of setting up a multicultural advisory group to make decisions before launching products. This is a great way to avoid embarrassing decisions that indicate a lack of appreciation for inclusion.
Related topics: Why diversity is necessary for innovations in the workplace
3. Maintain different relationships
Keith Ferrazzi, author of Never Eat Alone, writes about the power of relationships for business success. Most business owners are interested in maintaining these relationships. As your network grows, deliberately look for ways to diversify your relationships. One idea is to challenge yourself to use different providers in your business relationships. Organizations such as the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), the National Council for Women's Enterprises (WBENC), the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC), the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), the Pan Asian Chamber of Commerce (USPACC ) and the US Pan Asian Chamber of Commerce The National Veteran Owned Business Association (NVOBA) is a first-class partner who can assist you in this search. These organizations offer structured networks, education, business growth opportunities and more. If you are an entrepreneur who is already a member of one of these groups, you too can spread your wings and try to question each other to expand your integrative network.
No question, inclusion is here to stay. The inclusion of inclusion strategies in your company is a must for future growth. The decision to close your eyes to non-inclusive cultures and practices undoubtedly affects customer acquisition and retention.
Related: The importance of diversity and inclusion in uncertain times