Executives like Capital One’s head of multifamily finance Grace Huebscher and Cadbury Schweppes CEO John Brock know the value of a diverse workforce that reflects their customer base. Huebscer says a diverse workforce makes better decisions. Brock says a diverse workforce creates a better understanding of customers and a significant competitive advantage.


Not Sure How Diversity Would Benefit Your Business?

Studies show that diversity impacts the bottom line. A recent Gallup study of more than 800 business units in two companies found that gender-diverse business units have 14 percent higher average revenue and 19 percent higher average quarterly net profit. Could your business use those kinds of increases?

Revenues aren’t the only aspects of business that are favorably impacted by a diverse workforce. Commitment to diversity communicates a positive message to customers and communities where you do business, improving your reputation and building good will. People want to do business with people they like and have something in common with, and when your workforce looks like your customers and the communities they are in, it creates strong relationships.

Building a more diverse workforce helps extend your company’s presence in the marketplace by serving a wider pool of customers. If you want to sell to Hispanic or African-American demographics, it will be much easier to do with a workforce that includes Hispanic and African-American employees. You’ll also have a larger candidate pool to draw from when diversity is a priority in your business, and you’ll be able to promote your business brand more easily in the communities you serve with a diverse workforce. And the different perspectives of a diverse workforce provide the innovative ideas and creativity that drive business success.


How Can You Incorporate Diversity?

Incorporating diversity starts with knowing your customers. Who are you selling to? Where do they live? What’s important to them? If your market analysis shows a strong mix of genders and ethnicities, you’ll want that same mix in your employee population. If you don’t have it, you’ll have to work to make it happen.

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The place to start is by examining your recruiting process. Take a look at your hiring policy to see if it follows Federal EEOC (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) guidelines for meritorious hiring practices that are race, gender, age, and minority neutral. Consider job posting with employment centers cultural community groups, in local ethnic publications, and with organizations that serve ethnic communities and schools. If you don’t have the resources to dedicate a recruiter to diversity hiring, try working with an outsourced recruiter. Use metrics to measure the quality and effectiveness of diversity sources to show improvements in your company’s ability to attract and retain a diverse workforce.


Hiring Diversity is Just the Beginning

Once your company commits to diversity and adds a diversity focus to recruiting, retaining and engaging a diverse employee population is even more important. You need to foster a diverse company culture to retain and develop the diverse talent you source and hire. New hires need a reason to stay, and your company can provide that with a welcoming corporate culture with mentoring programs and equal opportunities for growth and advancement.

According to a survey by TowersPerrin, highly engaged employees perform better and are much less likely to leave the organization. The Hay Group found engaged employees were almost 43 percent more productive. Corporations like Sodexo know that diversity and inclusion drive employee engagement and require a sustained and comprehensive commitment. They provide employee support groups, mentoring, training and development programs, recognition, and flexible work arrangements to support inclusion and engagement, and measure corporate diversity to stay accountable.

The resulting systemic corporate culture change differentiates Sodexo as an employer, as well as with customers. The company regularly conducts employee engagement surveys to measure diversity impacts employee satisfaction, and surveys show that diversity is a top reason for high levels of engagement.

Sodexo understands the link between diversity, employee engagement, and business results.  When employees feel valued for their strengths and their differences, it creates a powerful competitive advantage.


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