Let’s be honest...companies do not become culturally colorful overnight. It takes work. Even with more and more businesses pledging to make diversity count, many are still “checking off boxes” as a way to fix the problem. The real issue -- is companies trying to reach a quota.
If you truly want to experience diversity in the workplace, stop counting. Try considering how and why differences complement your company's culture (and the coworkers that keep the business moving).
Here are six industry leaders who share why diversity matters to them and their work:
"As our country evolves and our nation becomes more and more diverse, creating inclusive work environments will be imperative to sustaining successful businesses. Companies should have people that reflect the customers that support them. People representing different ethnicities, cultures, sexual orientations as well as educational and economic statuses bring about different perspectives, opinions, ideas and innovations. Every company benefits from that kind of input and collaboration.
My mission with PRecise is to help CPG companies understand the value of diversity and inclusion from a marketing perspective. Multicultural consumers drive sales, growth and profit. They are the future of business. Companies that do not maximize those opportunities will be left behind." - Alexis
"Atlanta is a supremely diverse city. We have a unique tapestry of people who call our city home. I am very proud of this fact. Our agency believes that the more diverse and inclusive we can become in opinions, viewpoints and perspectives the better that makes us at Jackson Spalding. This betterment allows us to advise our clients with precision and a wide angle marketing communications lens. The focus on diversity and inclusion is an ongoing focus and priority for us as we help with the overall tapestry of Atlanta and the other cities and places where our agency has a tangible presence. We will continue to work with intentionality to make a genuine difference in this essential area." - Glen
"Diversity and inclusion at my agency? It’s not just a smart thing to do, it’s the responsible thing to do. I personally want to come to work for a place that is reflective of the community in which I live. The same is true for my employees. And who doesn’t want diverse perspective and opinions? I’d be bored in an environment where everyone had a similar worldview to mine." - Danica
"I think creating a workplace where different kinds of people feel inspired, safe and energized to bring their whole selves to work is at the heart of diversity and inclusion. And the data shows that diversity and inclusion is critical for innovation, creativity and frankly, optimum business performance. But for me personally, it’s what feeds my soul.
We all know it’s not simple or easy. We need to be open minded - not just to celebrating colleagues’ differences — but to the notion that we are all learning together and it’s an ongoing journey. We all bring our own experiences and biases to the workplace and we need to understand how our words and actions impact each other — positively and negatively. I think we need to start by always assuming good intent but also be brave enough to flag instances that aren’t positive, discuss openly and then learn from those experiences. I have found that most organizations benefit from unconscious bias training and ongoing conversation. It’s also critical to clearly articulate what the organization stands for, tolerates and aspires to achieve when it comes to a vision for creating a diverse, inclusive and progressive workplace.
Making diversity and inclusion a real (and top priority) at M Booth is certainly something that energizes and motivates me every day." - Dale
"Diversity in the workplace, especially in the communications/PR Industry, still does not represent the diversity of the US population. Every time we walk out of our homes, we see people from all walks of life, different races, backgrounds and experiences, but there is still a lot of work to be done in order to bridge this gap in the workplace. Agencies need to be “intentional” about increasing the representation of people from diverse backgrounds in their workplaces - and not only at the entry levels or non-client facing roles. We need diverse client facing teams who are able to connect and understand our client’s consumers. It’s a win-win situation for all!
My personal mission to diversifying my space is to be intentional about diversity and inclusion. I am transparent, welcome tough conversations and drive change across the organization. To me, the key word is genuine. Creating a diverse workplace can’t be only a HR program or a check mark on a “need-to-have” list. It must be a real and a legitimate effort made on behalf of everyone within an organization. It truly takes a village." - Rosa
"I believe that diversity and inclusion in the workplace means employees feel empowered to bring their whole selves to work. Inclusion in the workplace is immensely important in order to retain talent. Often times a lot of emphasis is placed on diversity but the framework of developing and maintaining an inclusive work environment is missing. A good question for leaders to keep at the top of mind is, “how do we get ourselves to the space where diversity and inclusion is actively advanced from both the top down as well as the bottom up?”
Step one, in my opinion, leaders should continue to be mentors and advocates for advancement in this space. To mentor is to motivate, educate and inspire individuals to achieve their best outcomes. It’s vital that when dealing with diversity and inclusion (D&I), that leaders should approach this topic internally with an open mind and with a commitment to move the needle forward." - Eric