Why Utilities Need Mandatory Diversity Offices

Why should diversity be particularly important to utility companies? The White Guy has the answer.

Luke Visconti’s Ask the White Guy column is a top draw on DiversityInc.com. Visconti, the founder and CEO of DiversityInc, is a nationally recognized leader in diversity management. In his popular column, readers who ask Visconti tough questions about race/culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability and age can expect smart, direct and disarmingly frank answers.

Ask the White Guy Luke ViscontiQuestion:
Please give me some reason why a community-owned utility should have a dedicated office of inclusion/diversity.

For the overwhelming majority of Americans, utilities are a matter of life and death.

Combined with the fact that most utilities operate as monopolistic public services, I would say utilities have an absolute moral and business imperative to communicate effectively with the entire community as it exists.

The culmination of successful diversity management is relationship-building with all constituents. We live in an era of more immigration per capita than ever in American history. Last week, the Census Bureau reported that there are more than 100 million people of color. Almost 50 percent of children younger than 10 are not white.

Race and culture are intertwined. Effective communication will, therefore, depend on cultural competency. The wages of ineffective diversity management for a utility are people, especially children, dying.

I think that’s a pretty good reason for utilities to have legislated offices of diversity.

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