Designing a Diversity Strategy that Works for Your Company

Is your company, like most companies, talking a good game re: diversity, but behind the scenes, efforts are limited and even … hit and miss? Build a strategy.

Most large US companies have now adopted the idea that diversity is good business. It’s hard (and risky) to ignore the shift in US demographics that is reshaping the spectrum of future employees and customers. Also, social, political and regulatory attention on a variety of newsworthy diversity topics is keeping the dialogue going and the pressure on businesses to report and respond.

But has your recognition of diversity as a value been translated into a strategy that can build company performance?

Our research at The Impact Seat shows that even for those U.S. companies who have prioritized diversity and inclusion, the effort is largely piecemeal with perhaps some consultants engaged and a program or two installed. Perhaps an aspect of diversity caught an executives’ attention, or a group of employees initiated meetings, or human resources or talent management found some assets in their network. That’s how most decisions about what to do and when are decided, at the most engaged firms.

While companies know they need a strategy for finance, for marketing, for product development – when it comes to diversity? Not so much. That’s a mistake, a missed opportunity. The research story continues to build on how diversity (and its partner, inclusion) is a key to inclusive innovation. This relates to customers, image and brand, employees, productivity and performance. Managers (at all levels) need to know why diversity matters and how to use it because getting your people working together, sustainably, and creatively, may just be the most important capability of all.

To address this topic, our research team has created a Framework for Best Practices in Diversity and Inclusion that encompasses 3 prime areas and 19 practice domains. In a three-period engagement we can lead your key team or organization wide players through a series of interviews and exercises which in the end, will leave you with the big picture in relation to the bottom line of diversity for your organization, your resources, your goals.

Take the time to consider the big picture. Make diversity a value and a performance driver. Design a strategy that sets first things first with a road map that can take your company into the future with intention.

Teresa Nelson, PhD