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Diversity and Inclusion Programs: A Win for Employees and Companies

02 11 2021

Over the past decade, political and social changes prompt companies to change their corporate culture to more diverse, equitable, and inclusive ones. Gender and ethnic diversity and inclusion in the workplace happen when companies focus on changing and taking active steps toward these goals. Companies that have analyzed the lack of diversity among their corporate leadership and workers and commit to investing in change are winning on many levels- with employees, the public, and balance sheets. Alternative asset management firms can benefit by partnering with a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) to help bring diversity and inclusion programs to fruition.

Ongoing inclusion studies by McKinsey since 2014 show progress toward diversity and inclusion, finding that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity in leadership were also 25% more likely to have above-average profitability. 

“Moreover, we found that the greater the representation, the higher the likelihood of outperformance. Companies with more than 30 percent women executives were more likely to outperform companies where this percentage ranged from 10 to 30, and in turn these companies were more likely to outperform those with even fewer women executives, or none at all. A substantial differential likelihood of outperformance—48 percent—separates the most from the least gender-diverse companies.

In the case of ethnic and cultural diversity, our business-case findings are equally compelling: in 2019, top-quartile companies outperformed those in the fourth one by 36 percent in profitability, slightly up from 33 percent in 2017 and 35 percent in 2014. As we have previously found, the likelihood of outperformance continues to be higher for diversity in ethnicity than for gender.” – Diversity wins: How inclusion matters, McKinsey, May 19, 2020.

However, progress toward diversity and inclusion remains slow at some companies and in some business sectors. For companies that want to commit to change, focusing on solutions versus past failures can provide guidance. Additionally, companies that want to create a more diverse workplace can start with these key insights:

  1. Collect, Count, and Compare. Set goals, collect data, and examine change over time compared to other organizations in the same line of business. By collecting and analyzing data on diversity over time, comparing those numbers to the numbers at other organizations, and sharing them with key stakeholders, companies can increase accountability and transparency around diversity issues. 
  2. Deploy Alternative Complaint Systems. Approximately half of all discrimination and harassment complaints lead to some retaliation. And workers who complain about harassment are more likely to face career challenges or experience worse mental and physical health than similar workers who were harassed but did not complain about it. Employee Assistance Plans (EAPs), ombuds offices, and transformative dispute resolution systems can play a critical role in reducing retaliation and providing fuel for organizational change. 
  3. Test for Biased Technology. Technology has become ubiquitous in the workplace. While holding the powerful potential to increase efficiency, there is also significant concern that technologies can reproduce and even exacerbate group-based inequalities by race, gender, or other social categories.
  4. Be Mindful of Unconscious Bias. The ways we think about and perceive others can also hamper progress. They present a subtle, yet important, factor that can contribute to biased decision-making: group size. When individuals belong to groups that are seriously underrepresented in the organizational context – such as racial minorities or women – they may be subjected to stereotype-based evaluations or tokenism. These biased perceptions can then have negative consequences for both individual workers and the larger organization, resulting in limited progress.
  5. Involve managers from the start. Often, organizations have experts design programs that are then deployed to the managers. This strategy often lacks a reality check: Does this program fit into how managers already work or are managers now required to add something into their already complex days? Involving managers in the design process can increase buy-in and smooth implementation, making interventions more sustainable and long-lasting.

Source: Diversity and Inclusion Efforts that Really Work. David Pedulla, Harvard Business Review, May 12, 2020.

At AspenHR, we are a PEO that helps companies invest in their people by offering high-quality benefits to their employees. Our specialty is HR strategies and sourcing retirement savings plans, health insurance, Medical, Dental, Vision, Life, Disability, and other services to ensure your company is known as a people-first, profits second company.

Join our annual discussion of the most up to date research and conversations regarding the value and impact of having a robust Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategy.  This webinar will cover the most current definitions of the terms Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and describe the “Human Impact” of creating a culture where all individuals feel as though they belong.  Besides, we will reference companies that did an outstanding job in 2021 with addressing this topic and those that have additional opportunities.  At this event, we will also discuss the most recent business legal requirements that companies are navigating from a compliance perspective. 

When? March 10, 1 PM CT. 

Register for the webinar