By Manuel McDonnell Smith
If you’ve clicked on this article, then you want to know what impact an effective and well-executed plan for diversity and inclusion can have on a business and its bottom line. What strategies work best for engaging employees, leaders, suppliers and customers/clients?
Our most recent Web Seminar explored the best practices of two companies that moved up this year in The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity. Karyn Twaronite, Partner and Americas Inclusiveness Officer at EY (No. 4 in the Top 50), and Dottie Brienza, Chief Diversity Officer at Merck & Co. (No. 12), joined Barbara Frankel, Senior Vice President and Executive Editor at DiversityInc, to discuss the planning, execution and business cases for their effective diversity-management programs.
You can watch the web seminar in its entirety by clicking HERE.
Frankel used DiversityInc Top 50 data to demonstrate that more companies are implementing successful diversity-management programs, especially those involving diversity councils, resource groups and cross-cultural mentoring. These initiatives enable them to increase recruitment, retention and promotions of people from underrepresented groups and reach an increasingly diverse marketplace.
She cited the DiversityInc Top 50 Stock Index, compiled by Samuel Ramirez & Company, Inc., which shows that companies in the DiversityInc Top 50 outperform the Standard & Poor’s 500 by 29 percent and the Dow Jones Industrial Index by 20 percent over a one-year period. “This shows that diversity is not only a result, but a critical result in the overall measurement of a company’s success,” said Frankel.
Merck has used resource groups as one of the cornerstones of its diversity business plan, explained Brienza, who emphasized that effective groups need structure, such as charters and business objectives. She cited the need for support from the top, especially executive sponsors, as well as development of group leaders. Resource-group goals should be aligned with the company’s business goals, she said. Brienza noted that the company’s U.S. resource groups have been so successful that Merck is now starting resource groups in its Japan and China locations.
“The Power of Diversity Is Real”
For a company such as EY, the focus must always be on the bottom line, not only internally but also for clients. In her presentation, Twaronite detailed the case for effective diversity business practices, headlined by one specific lesson that her company has learned. She says clients strongly factor diversity of race/ethnicity/gender/orientation/disability and background as part of their selection process, since they are keenly aware that diverse experiences add enormous value to the business process. It is a consideration that is critical to their everyday planning, she said, explaining, “We win or lose business depending on how diverse our teams are.”
Her presentation also included results of recent research showing that companies with women in senior positions outperform companies that do not have the same representation.
“Diverse groups outperform homogenous groups,” Twaronite explained, saying that data like this is “especially essential as companies [in the modern economic climate] continue to try to do more with less.”
All DiversityInc Best Practices web seminars, plus information on future web seminars, can be found in the BestPractices.DiversityInc.com web seminar library, which is complimentary for members. Non-members can purchase this web seminar here.