Enhancing Diversity as Part of Your Business Strategy

February 17, 2016
In today’s ever changing business landscape, diversity can make you sink or swim. Organizations who have implemented diversity plans are those on the forefront of development and change. There are a few steps that can be taken in the direction of spurring a beautifully diverse organization.

1. Expand Your Scope
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the majority of people in the United States will identify as people of color within the next 40 years. And statistics from the U.S. Department of Commerce show that the minority business community is growing at twice the rate of the general business population. So it makes simple mathematical sense that to be a successful business you need to have an effective marketing plan in place that focuses attention on these emerging markets.

2. Mirror your Desired Demographic
Decision makers at global organizations and minority-owned businesses often want to engage and buy from organizations that look like them; and they want to see this diversity at senior-level positions. Therefore, both your workforce and sales force should include members from the unique markets you are looking to attract, and these employees need to be able to identify and respond to the cultural nuances that shape global business meetings. “For global organizations, diversity is no longer simply a matter of creating a heterogeneous workforce, but using that workforce to innovate and give it a competitive advantage in the marketplace,” a 2011 Forbes survey on diversity states. “Competition for talent is fierce in today’s global economy, so organizations need to have plans in place to recruit, develop, and retain a diverse workforce.”

3. Communicate Your Diversity Plan
Finally, once you’ve put your diversity plan in place, you need to communicate it to your desired marketplace. For example, my organization has a strategic partnership with Morgan Stanley that brings this idea of diversity to life. The Rock Group, a wealth-management group within Morgan Stanley, focuses on the financial needs of small- and middle-market businesses. This group recently decided to market its services to minority and women-owned business enterprises (MWBEs) using culturally-specific networking events. Oscar Cantu, who heads the group’s efforts in this area, teamed up with the Morgan Stanley Supplier Diversity Program, which seeks to identify qualified minority-owned companies that could potentially become suppliers to Morgan Stanley. Cantu believed that by reaching out to the under-served MWBE community, he and his team could make a difference in the future of these organizations. By putting this diversity plan in place, the group was able to position themselves as the team of choice for MWBEs financial needs, while expanding their marketing reach.

Today, we look at diversity as not just a moral issue, but a business issue. It’s a proven fact that diverse companies perform at least 35% better than their homogeneous counterparts. That kind of proof is pretty hard to ignore, and companies that do are starting to feel the backlash. To take steps on diversity mentoring, click here.

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