The Role of Leadership in Effective Inclusion Strategy


Diversity & Inclusion training programs are only as effective as the willingness of leadership to demonstrate and model inclusion.

“When managers, supervisors and leaders model inclusive behaviors, employees are going to follow,” says Elmer Dixon, President of Executive Diversity Services (EDS). “If leadership models exclusive or narrow behaviors, it creates a culture for employees to that as well.”

Effective Diversity & Inclusion Strategy Boosts a Company’s Bottom Line

And that can impact a company’s bottom line. According to a 2015 McKinsey report, “More diverse companies, we believe, are better able to win top talent and improve their customer orientation, employee satisfaction, and decision making, and all that leads to a virtuous cycle of increasing returns.” The study of 366 public companies, as reported in the Harvard Business Review, found that “those in the top quartile for ethnic and racial diversity in management were 35% more likely to have financial returns above their industry mean.”

US Gypsum Leadership on Diversity & Inclusion

“Valuing diversity and creating an inclusive environment is a core value at United States Gypsum,” said former CEO Bill Foote. EDS helped USG develop the strategic plan for its diversity initiative and partnered with the company to implement virtually every portion of its plan from development of a diversity council to policy development and training programs. Chicago United recognized USG Corporation with the 2016 Bridge Award for corporate inclusion for their outstanding work in this area.

Hate Speech is on the Rise

Not doing Diversity & Inclusion right also can impact a company’s bottom line with costly, unavoidable lawsuits, and companies may be more vulnerable than ever.

According to a count by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) the incidence of hate crimes is up, with 1,094 bias incidents in the first 34 days following last November’s election. Using hate speech or offensive language is not simply a reaction to “political correctness,” but may be illegal and has no room in the workplace.

“Building a foundation for a workplace that is not just tolerant of differences but rather one that values the unique qualities of each individual stakeholder is vital in today’s multi-cultural environment,” says Dixon. Committed, knowledgeable leadership and Senior-level sponsorship of diversity initiatives is critical.

Committed, Knowledgeable Leadership Drives Change

“Leadership sets the example for what’s acceptable, and needs to be vocal about what is not acceptable as well,” says Dixon. “They have to demonstrate from that top position that they’re inclusive themselves. Leadership is critical.”

Contact Executive Diversity Services to see how we can get your company started.

 

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