The recent Diversity Best Practices session, hosted by The New York Times, convened 300 corporate diversity and inclusion leaders followed by a joint report out with CEOs. This interactive forum featured three core topics including implementing global gender strategies, developing innovative solutions for engaging people with disabilities, along with utilizing CSR as a vehicle for maximizing diversity and inclusion results. Corporations have significant opportunities to address some pressing issues and implications for conducting business in today’s marketplace including:
- How powerful social and economic change can be enabled when girls and women have the opportunity to participate in their society. Women perform 66 percent of the world’s work and produce 50 percent of the food, while earning 10 percent of the income and owning 1 percent of the property.
- Aligning Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as integral component of key business and talent strategies.
- Devising innovative strategies for people with disabilities. There are 610 million individuals with disabilities worldwide and 386 million of working age with approximately 80% living in developing countries.
Following are some key takeaways and perspectives on the advantages of CSR, diversity and workforce inclusion.
Despite lay-offs and cost cutting, attracting and retaining talent remains top priority for global leaders in 2010.
A new study revealed that only 45% of Americans are satisfied with their work – even in an economy where some feel lucky just to be employed. Job satisfaction in 2009 hit the lowest ever recorded by the Conference Board research group in the 22 years they have been studying US workers.
The new war for talent is creating greater consequences for corporations’ reputation management, enforcing culture change, transformation and reenergizing of their brands, particularly the employee brand.
Fellow CSR panelists included Peter Lamberta, Manager, Office of Global Diversity and Inclusion, Whirlpool Corporation and Orlando D. Ashford, Senior Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer, Marsh and McLennan Companies (MMC). Sharing perspectives about their initiatives and best practices for developing the employee value proposition, they provided the following comments.
”It is critically important to develop and promote the next generation of leaders that will enable the company to grow and gain competitive advantage” - Peter Lamberta.
Orlando Ashford highlighted in his presentation:
(1997) “War for Talent:” – “The most important corporate resource over the next 20 years will be TALENT: smart, sophisticated business people are technologically literate, globally astute, and operationally agile. And even as the demand for them goes up, the supply of it will be going down.” Source: 1997 War for Talent – McKinsey & Co.
“Understanding employee concerns is the foundation for creating the right infrastructure and developing deeper intellectual capital to conduct business in today’s marketplace” - Orlando Ashford.
Diversity and Implications for CSR…
Diversity is increasingly becoming a key factor for attracting talent and creating teams that can perform to their full potential.
The ‘Business Case’ for diversity states that in a global marketplace a company that employs a diverse workforce (men and women, people of many generations, racially diverse backgrounds, LGBT) is better able to understand marketplace demographics, able to sell more products and services, and thrive than a company that has more limited employee demographics.
CSR is increasingly becoming a branding imperative, strategic tool to deliver diversity and inclusion results, as well as source of leadership, growth and competitive advantage.
The key is not longer “Why” it is needed, but rather “How” can a company best align diversity with CSR into business strategy, customer relationships and sustain a diverse global workforce.
Consumers and employees continue to advocate for their favorite brands to address pressing global concerns such as climate change, poverty, economic development, healthcare and mobilize more impactful community development programs. They are the advocates for change.
Meanwhile, a major new talent incentive is creating CSR and diversity champions. Employees are seeking to work for an organization with a reputation for being environmentally friendly, caring about their workforce and a great place to work.
And, they are asking for and want to become more involved with philanthropic, workplace and community development initiatives.
95% - CEOs report that businesses must address social and environmental pressures of society and employees will drive companies’ efforts to address sustainability. Source: McKinsey & Co/MIT Sloan Management Review.
Furthermore, in reviewing employees performance evaluations and development plans, companies are considering community involvement as a major performance competency and compensation criteria.
This, in turn, is creating a more diverse and inclusive workforce and key driver of bottom-line growth and corporate reputation.
Yet, according to research uncovered by Climb The Green Ladder: Make Your Company and Career More Sustainable, Wiley, only 1 in 10 employees feel they have the training and resources to help their firm become more sustainable – so training and employment engagement programs are critical to ensure well trained staff and inclusion.
We cannot underestimate the role and power of employees for storytelling, experiential marketing, stakeholder engagement and creating loyal brand champions.
Leaders of global organizations must increase diversity in the workplace and align with conducting business in a sustainable and socially-conscious manner.
They need to make it front and center of the business case for the long term, a critical component for talent acquisition, growth and innovation to thrive in today’s complex marketplace.
Diversity Best Practices - www.diversitybestpractices.com
For further information about CSR education, training and advocacy contact (212) 979 6092.