Best Practices to Get Budget for Your Diversity Departments
Your company's success—and your position—depends on aligning values with actions. DiversityInc CEO Luke Visconti explains how to do it right.
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.
Every business exists to make money. Profits are a return on equity. You see this in your own life as dividends at your bank. You put your money (equity) in the bank and they pay you a percentage of the profit they make (interest) when they reinvest your money in mortgages and car loans. Even not-for-profits must make money; without it, the work can't be done.
Diversity management, properly implemented, drives profit. For most companies this shows up as decreased costs: Human-capital diversity efforts raise productivity, lower regrettable loss and increase recruiting efficiency. We call this Stage Two benefits. Human-capital gains are tangible, measurable and significant, but market-driven gains can quickly drive share price. There's a reason why all of the Big Four accounting firms switched from having human-resources-based people to having revenue-driving partners be responsible for their diversity efforts over the past five years. There's a reason why their CEOs have spoken at our events. It's not about singing "Kumbaya," it's about profits.
Here are some "best practices" for diversity executives to successfully get budget:
- You must stay close to the revenue stream. If your presentations aren't full of facts and figures—if they don't speak the language of business—you're going to fail.
- Don't hang out with losers. Look closely at the people in your "consortium" or "council." Do any of them have budget? You're going nowhere if you share "best practices" with other people who can't develop enough of a business argument to get budget from their respective companies.
- Demand to be measured. Get concurrence on setting goals and the accountability to achieve them.
- Being repetitively asked to prove "the business case for diversity" is a cue to find another job. Spending your life answering asinine questions from the obstinately oblivious isn't going to ever be rewarding.
Let's get back to "Kumbaya." Success in diversity management is contingent on aligning values with actions. Diversity management is about building the ability to have strong, trusting relationships with people as they are—organizationally and personally. It's about getting your organization to strip away the unproductive behaviors that block its ability to build meaningful relationships with internal and external stakeholders.
You can't do that without an honest connection to the people around you both in your community and communities around the world. Now we're talking about philanthropy and corporate citizenship. The most successful entrepreneurs I personally know are extremely philanthropic (see our article on Steve Colson, one of the biggest donors to the Rutgers Future Scholars).
DiversityInc Top 50 participants donate an average of 2 percent of their gross revenue, and nearly half of their donations go to multicultural groups. DiversityInc also donates 2 percent of its gross revenue.
Getting budget for your diversity program is directly relative to how your company values connect with the community. Philanthropy is an excellent leading indicator of corporate (and personal) intent. Diversity and profitability are about relationships. Making that connection is your key to getting budget for your diversity programs.
We are long past needing to be understanding of his supporters.
It's been one year since the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va. And now, we are all bracing for what is being called Unite the Right 2, planned for this weekend in the Washington, D.C. area. A state of emergency has been declared in Virginia ahead of the gathering of white supremacists and Neo-Nazis.
Free Daily Newsletter
We won't share your email with anyone.
"We could not bear the feeling of humiliation for an entire cross-country flight and left the plane," David Cooley said in a Facebook post.
Alaska Airlines is apologizing for an act of blatant discrimination against a same-sex couple, but the damage is already done as #BoycottAlaskaAirlines is circulating social media.
Decades of incompetent Democratic leadership — and disregard for diversity — has taken us down this path.
Clearly communicated policies and values build corporate diversity success — treating people right is not an option for a well-run company.
In an age of increasing racial confrontations, a business must have zero tolerance for discrimination.
In the Trump era, there has been a proliferation of Islamophobic and racist incidents across the country. When discrimination occurs at a place of business, it's apparent if the company's leadership and workforce support diversity and inclusion. A Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf café barista refused to serve a racist customer; meanwhile, a white manager at a Starbucks called the police on two Black men for no reason.
Connect With DiversityInc
At DiversityInc's annual event, Ellison shared his personal journey to leadership at JCPenney.
DiversityInc CEO Luke Visconti had a fireside chat with JCPenney Chairman and CEO Marvin Ellison, one of three Black CEOs in the Fortune 500, at the 2018 Top 50 Companies for Diversity event May 1 at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City.
Nearly 1,000 guests, including 24 CEOs and presidents and 15 chief human resource officers from 34 companies, responsible for 1.9 million total employees worldwide, were in attendance.
Free Daily Newsletter
We won't share your email with anyone.
Executives from Nielsen, New York Life, TIAA and Toyota Motor North America talk about communicating their commitment to D&I management and backing it up with actions that get results.
At the 2018 DiversityInc Top 50 event, more than 400 people were in attendance during the day to hear best practices on effectively managing diversity and inclusion.
Moderator: Luke Visconti, CEO, DiversityInc
- Angela Talton, Chief Diversity Officer, Nielsen
- Kathleen Navarro, VP & Chief Diversity Officer, New York Life
- Steve Larson, Senior Director of Diversity & Inclusion, TIAA
- Adrienne Trimble, General Manager, Diversity & Inclusion, Toyota Motor North America