The Business Imperative for Diversity and Inclusion

Business leaders discuss why it's critical for organizations today to have diverse talent and inclusive policies, which can enable innovation and better serve the varying needs of stakeholders.

Transcript

Tony Lee: [00:20] The emphasis on having not just a diverse but an inclusive workforce has really never been greater. It's something that we've been talking about every day at SHRM. It's such an important issue.

[00:32] It's a combination of redefining who is diverse and making sure that everything you're doing becomes inclusive.

Shaun Budnik: [00:40] What makes innovation successful is having different points of view, try to frame the issue that you may be having and solve the problem.

[00:51] If you have group think and similar people that are sitting around the table, you're not going to get the new idea and the innovation that is absolutely necessary to survive as a business going forward. Many companies realize that.

[01:08] Also, there is a tendency and a bias to get people in a room to solve a problem that you're comfortable with and that are similar to you.

[01:18] There is a lot of discussion about being deliberate, bringing people that are different, and including different, not only gender, race, and things that we measure typically but cultures, background, and experiences because all of that comes into play when you're really trying to think of a different way to solve a problem.

Michael Arena: [01:36] When we bring in diverse prospects of an organization, what you do is you protect yourself against insularity. You protect yourself against group think. You protect yourself against becoming very, very insular in the way that you think and behave inside of an organization.

[01:52] What we've been able to do, and one of the things I've focused a lot on, is the whole inclusion side to diversity. Inclusion, in this case, means, yes, making people feel welcome, making them feel like they're part of an organization but, even more importantly than that, inclusion in contributions.

Joseph DiAngelo: [02:07] Companies today can't compete without being in the global market, any medium size company, and surely large companies, but even in the smaller companies. What that means is you need to understand the needs and interests of people all around the world, which means you also need to have people who work for you who understand those needs.

[02:30] You can't run a successful business today without having a diverse workforce. The last thing you want are 10 people sitting around the table, all with the same background, answering questions because it's a myopic view, looked at through the same lens. You're missing all kinds of opportunities.

Lee: [02:53] Understanding the various cultural backgrounds of the employee base, and then making sure that not only are they representative, but they feel like they're part of the company, they feel like one, part of a whole, that inclusiveness is really the key for companies to succeed in the workforces in the future.

Arena: [03:08] If you can actually map people out inside of a network, and you can look at diversity in the network, and the people of a diverse set of experiences, ethnicity, gender, whatever happens to be, are in the center of the network, we know that their voice is being heard much more loudly.

[03:25] It's not enough to bring people in from a diverse perspective. You must bring them in, and you must get them positioned inside of the network in such a way that they can contribute equally, if not more, than other folks.


Filmed February 2019 at AACSB's Deans Conference in Vancouver, Canada.