Carolynn Johnson Discusses the Business Benefits of Diversity and Inclusion with Roy Wood Jr. on ‘Faces of Race’

Are “diversity and inclusion” all smoke and mirrors? What does one do when corporations come to the realization and say, “Hey, I am racist”? Is there a latent hypocrisy in corporate America, who will say one thing, publicly promising to change, but then go on to do something else, perpetuating a homogenous status quo?

These are the concepts and scenarios discussed when DiversityInc CEO, Carolynn Johnson sat down with The Daily Show’s Roy Wood Jr. on the first episode of FINTECH.TV’s newly launched series, “Faces of Race.”

Johnson discussed the business benefits of diversity and inclusion, which she believes is a moral imperative as much as it is a fiscal one. As Johnson puts it, “[diversity and inclusion] is not just the right thing to do, it’s about sustainability, competitive advantage and profitability.”

Data from research and consulting firms certainly back these claims up; while diverse companies aren’t automatically profitable, they are generally more successful. That being said, data can also reveal areas where improvement is needed. Johnson talked about DiversityInc’s Top 50 Companies for Diversity survey, which evaluates submitted data from U.S. companies with more than 750 employees in six key areas:

  1. Human Capital Diversity Metrics: gender and racial/ethnicity breakdown of representation in overall workforce representation, overall management, senior management, new hires, promotions and 10% highest paid populations
  2. Leadership Accountability: CEO/senior leadership commitment and accountability, board of directors, office of diversity and inclusion, diversity council practices and representation metrics
  3. Talent Programs: employee resource groups, mentoring, high potential and sponsorship programs, practices and participation metrics
  4. Workplace Practices: talent acquisition, talent management, onboarding, diversity training, workforce development and engagement, LGBTQ, people with disabilities, military community and employee benefits policies and practices
  5. Supplier Diversity: spend with companies owned by people from underrepresented groups, accountability, and practices
  6. Philanthropy: contributions to non-profit organizations focused on people from underrepresented groups, employee volunteerism and matching programs and practices

“I know this is going to offend some people but … is your company a plantation?” Johnson said bluntly. “Are all the people who are Black and brown working in the bottom of the company, while everybody who is not Black and brown, who is not of privilege in the C-suite and on the Board?”

Ultimately, data can benefit both the employer and employee; companies will gain insight and accountability on how, where and what they can improve, and employees (both current and potential recruits) can reap the benefits of a diverse, inclusive and — most importantly — equitable work environment.

To watch the full episode of “Faces of Race” with Carolynn Johnson, click here.

To learn more about the 2021 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity competition (the 20th Anniversary of the survey), click here.

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