When it comes to Diversity and Inclusion, there are two kinds of companies: those that know they have a problem and those that don’t know it yet.
For Americans needing a caffeine boost in the afternoon of May 29th, if Starbucks was a part of their routine, they had to choose another retailer. The coffee giant closed all stores for 1 hour for an afternoon of racial-bias training which cost the Seattle-based retailer an estimated $12 million. The training, which came in response to an arrest of two black men at a Philadelphia shop, featured video messages on racial bias by Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson and the rapper Common, and a short film by documentary director Stanley Nelson.
As we’ve seen lately, companies that have external-facing associates with the slightest misstep will have their stories widely spread in social and traditional media – no business is immune. Whether it’s the coffee house or any other retailer, these are often the cases of companies having good intentions, strong internal programs and training, but not embedding the behavior so strongly that associates automatically view everything through the D&I lens. Consumers are making choices of brands and retailers that fit their values. Millennials and the incoming Generation Z, even more so than any other generation.
“Every company has the potential to both benefit from leveraging diversity and suffer while ignoring it,” says Joan Toth, Simpactful Sr. Consultant, “Demographic trends speak to the changing makeup of the workforce and consumers – so addressing D&I from a workforce and marketplace viewpoint are essential.” Toth’s work with Simpactful includes D&I assessments and evaluations, incorporating D&I into company DNA, coaching leadership how to model desired behavior, action planning, and training.
According to The Nielsen Company, Generation Z and Millennials now make up nearly half (48%) of the overall U.S. generational composition, an insight of even larger importance as the youngest generation begins to mature and enter the workplace. Both Generation Z and Millennials are more multicultural in their overall race/ethnic composition than previous generations. Generation Z holds the largest percentage of Hispanics and non-Hispanic blacks at 22% and 15%, respectively. Compare that to the Greatest Generation (those aged 71 and up), whose make-up is overwhelmingly non-Hispanic white at 78%, with 9% of its population non-Hispanic black and 8% Hispanic.
As many around the globe recognize Pride Month this June, LGBTQ individuals seek out inclusive work environments, where they feel they can be their authentic selves at work and are motivated to perform at the highest level. This is good for employee morale and the bottom line. Diverse and inclusive workplaces for all, also eliminates business risk in two major areas: recruiting top talent and retention of LGBTQ employees and their allies in the workplace. Toth goes further to explain, “Many companies ignore the opportunity to use D&I as a value driver and studies show that diverse teams outperform non-diverse teams consistently”
Today, workplace equality needs to be top-of-mind for businesses, but what’s most important is attracting the crucial talent that will drive future success. By working with people from different backgrounds and with different experiences and working styles, we learn another view. Diverse views make for better decisions, and thus drive a high-performance culture. Companies that don’t focus on diversity and inclusion aren’t just at risk of being out of date, they already are and haven’t seen it yet.
Joan Toth is the former CEO of the Network of Executive Women and specializes in corporate assessments and the development of D&I strategic plans. Diane Cummins, recently joined Simpactful as a Sr. Consultant and is a proven & authentic leader with valuable experience in operationalizing inclusion within organizations enabling everyone to bring their full selves to work every day. For more information, reach out to the Simpactful team at email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 952-234-6394
Toth believes the first step for a company is to work with Simpactful using their assessment tool to help see opportunities and risks within current best practices. By scheduling a discussion, where Toth and the Simpactful team can illuminate the conditions that are present within the organization, they can be lead a successful and sustaining diversity and inclusion program.
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Our experience spans functions - Sales, Marketing, Consumer Research, Human Resources, Product Supply - and all retail channels including eCommerce, Food, Drug, Mass, Club, Dollar, C Stores, and more.