This article was published on ICMI.
One recent Harvard Business Review study that examined 1,700 organizations across eight countries found that in every country studied, increased diversity equaled increased innovation – and the more dimensions of diversity represented, the stronger the relationship. Companies with above-average diversity experience see 19% points higher innovation revenues and 9% points higher earnings before interest (EBIT) margins.
I’m quite passionate about diversity. I sit on the board of advisers for the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP) Women Empowerment, Leadership and Diversity Chapter, among many other endeavors for promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
So, I find it frustrating that despite all the upside in having a diverse workforce, less than 40% of organizations foster conditions for enabling diversity. These conditions include fair employment practices such as equal pay, participative leadership, top management’s support of diversity and open communication practices.
It’s not just a case of inequality – it’s a lost revenue opportunity.
So, how can we do better?
Focus on Intervention, not Just Bias Reduction
Tooling up employees to actively intervene in bias situations builds confidence and awareness and increases collective accountability.
Invite Non-Manager to Foster Communication Across the Organization
Organizations’ diversity efforts often focus on recruitment and promotions – though realistically, these are just symptoms of wider issues in organizational culture. To understand and target the root of the problem, organizations must include employees at all levels in the hierarchy.
Keep the Conversation Going to Stay Accountable
Many organizations today are treating the push for diversity simply as "a box to tick", and once the action is completed it can be put aside. Yet to be truly effective, this needs to be an ongoing conversation with results measured over time.
Be Flexible - in Both Content and Delivery
Every organization is unique, with different needs and challenges. While you should start with a plan, be sure to talk to employees to hear their challenges, interests, and biases, and incorporate this feedback into the program as you go. Feedback is key.
This piece was excerpted and modified from VXI’s CX Trend eBook.
Heidi Solomon-Orlick is a BPO industry veteran with significant consultative sales, operations and executive leadership experience. Prior to her first stint with VXI, Heidi was with a leading global IT/BPO company where she was a multiyear winner of both the President's Club and Rock Award (2012-2016) for generating the highest annualized revenues and surpassing sales and profitability targets. She currently serves as a co-chair of the IAOP’s Women Empowerment, Leadership & Diversity Chapter. A frequent industry speaker on workforce diversity and women empowerment, Heidi has held senior roles in nearly half a dozen customer-care organizations. She resides in Henniker, NH.