In Part I & II, I shared some of the things I did to build and maintain my most successful teams using Diversity and Inclusion, but I’m sure you’re wondering what they produced. Most importantly this management style drives inclusiveness. High performing teams need to feel that as individuals (and as a team), their opinions are important and that what they share is valued. When people feel like they’re being listened to, they participate. Participation leads to new ideas, new information, a reduction in errors and omissions, more innovative and creative ways of doing business, and overall increased engagement. Higher engagement leads to less employee turnover which reduces costs and disruption on your team and fosters an inclusive environment. It also increases your brand as a leader to attract talent from within your organization.
Improved Strategies, New Customers and Financial Results
The Diversity on my team enabled all of us to learn more about different cultures, ethnicities, demographics, family dynamics and values so that we could work better together, support each-other better and celebrate together. It also created a learning environment that enabled us to find new markets of customers and improve products and services to our current customers. With better insight, we created better strategies and made more informed decisions on product types and services, and the timing for our products and services. For example, we implemented new promotions and products to celebrate Diwali, Kwanza, and Hanukah as opposed to just Christmas during our Q4 promotion planning. Another example of strategy improvement was better product placement based on the style of clothing to better reflect the ethnicities surrounding different store locations which led to better sales, profit and stronger community ties. My results are not unique as there are multiple published financial benefits of D&I by several top research companies (McKinsey, PwC, Deloitte, BCG, Josh Bersin, HBR and several others).
Performance Recognition and Growth
My inclusive leadership also fostered my team’s consistent ability to achieve the most performance-based promotions, maintain low employee turnover rates, highest engagement scores and most consistent business KPI’s and business forecast accuracy. I was also voted the most supportive leader by not only my direct reports but by the entire division of business partners as a result of my inclusive leadership style.
To build my teams from the inside out, I used our diversity to learn and create connections for long lasting partnerships and friendships. We had great team lunches where we shared our life stories, connected outside of the office socially, leaned on each-other during long days at the office, supported each-other during tough days, took team coffee orders and much more. This created a sense of community, identified everyone’s strengths and areas of expertise and most importantly built trust and understanding. Trust always fosters better collaboration and creativity across teams. In order for our organizations to remain competitive and grow, innovation and creativity is crucial.
Build a Corporate Brand
Think of your favourite product and service companies; imagine what it would be like working for them based on their brand and employee ratings. Having a reputation for high performing inclusive teams always benefits employers and employees. From the standpoint of an organization, anything that fosters talent retention and attraction, and improves the company brand is a great investment. Glassdoor recently published a study that showed 67% of active and passive job seekers consider a diverse workplace when evaluating companies and job offers. Utilizing D&I leadership afforded me a great reputation as a top leader amongst employees and my employers which generated a constant talent pool to recruit from.
Diversity and inclusion have countless brand, financial, performance and communal benefits outside of the fact that it’s the right thing to do. Hiring a diverse team without being inclusive as a leader and company will not provide the full potential of having a diverse team. With technology creating more global competition across multi-cultural societies, more diverse markets and giving us access to new customers, D&I is now a necessity for organizations if they want to remain competitive and relevant.
This three-part blog is just a part of this important conversation but I encourage you to start it with your peers, teams and leadership. For more information or support with D&I, please contact me at Zoe@prompta.ca