In getting white men to “buy in” to the value of diversity or in convincing entire staffs that the CEO really supports D&I efforts, the personal story is critical, as leaders of Prudential Financial, Altria Group, Toyota Financial Services and Cox Communications told us.
Prudential Financial: You May Not ‘Get’ D&I—But You Have To
Creating a culture of diversity and inclusion means including everyone—personally and professionally. That’s the mindset Prudential Financial leverages to create its business case for diversity, explained Michele C. Meyer-Shipp, Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer of Prudential Financial. “For all of us to succeed we have to be able to market our services to diverse communities,” she said. “You might not get it but you have to.”
Altria Group: Is Diversity a Zero-Sum Game for White Men?
Diversity and inclusion: What’s in it for white men? That’s the question you as a diversity leader need to answer if you’re going to gain buy-in from your white, male senior leaders, said Nancy Adams, Senior Manager, HR Client Services/Diversity/AAP of Altria. She noted that it’s important to shift the conversation away from race and gender toward discussions about how inclusion benefits white men. “But there’s always a small minority of people who just see the world as a zero-sum game,” she says, and the challenge is getting through to them.
Toyota: Attention Straight, White Men—Diversity Includes You Too
Toyota Financial Services’ diversity leaders work hard to get their D&I message out—and a big catalyst for that effort is visible commitment from the company’s senior executives, such as former President and CEO George Borst. “I had a man come up to me and say he joined the women’s group because ‘I have three daughters and I would want them to have the opportunities they wouldn’t have had if they had grown up in my day,” recalled Stephen Lewis, Corporate Manager, Diversity and Inclusion, Toyota Financial Services.
Cox Communications: How to Begin Diversity Outreach to White Men?
“Everyone has something to share, something to learn from each other,” said Rhonda Taylor, Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer of Cox Communications. Taylor notes it starts with opening up the dialogue around our differences and creating an atmosphere that allows employees to ask the hard questions and share their personal stories to make a connection.