Russell Reynolds Associates: Diversity and Inclusion #GameChangers
Diversity and inclusion (D&I) are top-of-mind for leaders across every industry and geography today. Customer needs and demographics are fast-changing, and competition is at the ready. There is increasing scrutiny around practices, policies and the composition of leadership at corporations. Competition for top talent is high, and up-and-coming leaders place a premium on corporate culture and institutional values that match their own. Evidence is accumulating to show that companies with diverse talent and an inclusive culture serve their clients better, innovate more, and have stronger employer brands – all vehicles for achieving resilience and staying relevant in the long term. A journey towards a more diverse workforce and inclusive culture today is therefore critical to companies in their quest for a more resilient tomorrow.
To gather first-hand insights and perspectives, Russell Reynolds Associates spoke with a number of leaders at companies known for their leading-edge approach to D&I. Their conversations with CEOs, chief diversity officers and other influential members of the leadership teams at these game-changing companies – the #GameChangers – revealed a number of insights. While there are no simple solutions, several patterns emerged.
LESSONS FROM CONVERSATIONS WITH #GAMECHANGERS
- A conversation about diversity alone is not enough: Inclusion is essential. Companies that are making real progress in D&I are focusing not only on creating a diverse workforce, but on fostering an inclusive culture as well. Further, many strive for a sense of belonging among employees – a critical end goal, without which diversity metrics and inclusive corporate initiatives are superficial at best.
- #GameChangers see diversity and inclusion as inextricably linked to business goals. #GameChangers align their D&I objectives with their broader business strategy and desired evolution in order to achieve resilience.
- Diversity and inclusion are about the long game. #GameChangers think about diversity and inclusion as long-term efforts, rather than a series of discrete short-term initiatives. Additionally, D&I are treated as company-wide issues affecting everyone, rather than separate efforts for a few diverse individuals.
- #GameChangers move beyond talk and symbolic hires. These companies hold themselves accountable to a set of established diversity goals reinforced through measurement and reporting. More essential, they actively work to change behaviors and mentalities across every facet of the organization.
- Engaged and inclusive leadership is critical to success. Our conversations repeatedly showed that diversity and inclusion must start at the top. For a company’s D&I work to have lasting impact, leaders need to be committed to, and engaged in, the company’s D&I agenda.
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