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The Importance of Diversity and Inclusion During Uncertain Times

Joel Lesko
May 11, 2020
The Importance of Diversity and Inclusion During Uncertain Times
And what leaders should do about it.

Excellent article by Alissa Carpenter in Entrepreneur Magazine.Her excellent suggestions make me think of our Defeating Unconscious Bias program that actually touches on each of those point.

Having diversity among races, genders, generations, ethnicities and thought within an organization is one thing. But including employees with these experiences in the conversation can help leaders and organizations find the answers to these questions during trying times. If you’re still not convinced, check out these statistics:

  • Racial and ethnically diverse companies are 35 percent more likely and gender diverse teams are 5 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.
  • Companies with above-average diversity had 19 percent higher innovation revenues.
  • Companies with the most ethnically and culturally diverse boards worldwide are 43 percent more likely to experience higher profits.
  • Diverse teams (of three or more people) outperform individual decision-makers up to 87 percent of the time.

Making the conscious effort as a leader to make diversity and inclusion a priority during uncertain times is not easy, but here are some ways to get started.
Create partnerships
Be conscious of representative leadership
Keep employee resource groups alive
Call attention to your hiring practices
Limit assumptions

Leading in uncertain times takes a more active communication effort, transparency and a willingness to acknowledge you don’t have all the answers. Employees who already felt underutilized and unappreciated might feel even more separated from leadership and the mission of the organization. This is not the time to push them away, but to bring them in, acknowledge their contribution and provide them a space to be valued and heard. Let’s not forget that the hope is to go back to “normal.” If we are not taking diversity and inclusion seriously now, how will employees feel about it as a priority when they return to the office?

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