It is well known that “Adversity does not build character, it reveals it.” The adversity we have faced as a nation through the Coronavirus Pandemic has revealed the challenges that we still face around diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). These challenges must be addressed if companies and organizations are to thrive in the future. CNN Business reports, “The millennial and Gen Z generations are the most diverse in history: only 56% of the 87 million millennials in the country are white, as compared to 72% of the 76 million members of the baby boomer generation (Yellin, 2020).” Indicating that DEI is no longer an afterthought or regulated to second or third tier strategy, but must be treated as a priority in company planning and implementation.
It is also well documented that a lack of diversity in the leadership of an organization hampers innovation, prohibits members of minority groups from being recognized for their contributions, and fails to meet client expectations. A study published in Harvard Business Review stated, “without diverse leadership, women are 20% less likely than straight white men to win endorsement for their ideas; people of color are 24% less likely; and [those who identify as] LGBT are 21% less likely” (Sylvia Ann Hewlett, 2013).
Companies and organizations will have a harder time accumulating collective wins if DEI is not properly addressed. Therefore, having the right DEI Strategies are mission critical for success!
What is Your Motivation
Motivation is an important factor when thinking through DEI Strategies. Johnny C Taylor, CEO of Society of Human Resource Management stated, “We often forget the ‘I’ in DEI.” While goals around Diversity hiring and policies that ensure Equity are important, it is the Inclusion that is often missing. Inclusion often hold DEI strategies together. Inclusion ensures that work settings are created where investments can be made so people can sense they are respected, appreciated and freely able to contribute to a common goal.
Thomas Chamarro-Premuziz further underscores this point through a meta-analysis of 108 studies and more than 10,000 teams, which indicated that the creativity gains produced by higher team diversity are disrupted by the inherent social conflict and decision-making deficits that less homogeneous teams create (Chamorro-Premusic, 2017). Therefore, this emphasizes the importance that diversity increases a team’s ability to innovate and foster creativity. If your organization is looking to increase its reach and impact, then motives that effectively address DEI strategies should be at the top of your list.
Being Descriptive vs Prescriptive
DEI Strategies can be both descriptive and prescriptive. Descriptive approach to be DEI is to conduct an analysis that simply states where the organization currently stands. Most DEI approaches stop here and never go beyond this approach. However, prescriptive DEI plans go a step further and aims to help organizations create approaches that are more proactive with creating innovative solutions. ESI builds off the descriptive and helps clients get to perspective. Finding solutions that work is how organizations start to solve the complexities and implement solutions.
Don’t Miss the Moment
It is important to note that this not just about hiring or scaling up. This is your moment to thoughtfully assess where you are, what you need to do, how to implement those strategies and assess them on a continual basis. DEI strategies that are designed well make good business sense. When people feel they are included, an organization can unlock intangible benefits that include access to new ideas, skills, better engagement, and meaningful impact.
Econsult Solutions welcomes the opportunity to walk with our clients to help turn challenges into opportunities that strengthen their organization. Our past work represents our commitment and competence in developing DEI solutions. Below are a few projects we have worked on in this area:
Equity Impacts for Philadelphia Residents of Transit Fare Change Proposal – Econsult Solutions conducted extensive analyses of Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority’s (SEPTA) fare change proposal to determine the extent to which those changes did or did not adversely affect Philadelphians, and in particular low-income residents.
Equitable Entrepreneurship in Philadelphia – Econsult Solutions is part of a team of consultants providing quantitative and strategic support to the United Way, the City of Philadelphia Commerce Department, and Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation on what is needed for diverse entrepreneurs to flourish
Public Bank Feasibility Assessment – Econsult Solutions assisted NYMBUS Corporation in conducting an internal analysis for the government of Washington, D.C. to assess the feasibility of a public bank for the city.
For further projects please visit our Equity and Inclusion Practice Area page.
Econsult Solutions is well equipped to support banks, universities, and other large-scale for-profit and not-for-profit institutions to meet the moment, to do better, and to remain competitive.
Frank Robinson is a Director with Econsult Solutions. Mr. Robinson has been a leader in the economic development and sustainable development industries for over 18 years, working with corporate, government and nonprofit clients, banks and credit unions, as well as community development financial institutions (CDFI) and small businesses. With a knack for creatively engaging clients and re-envisioning possibilities, he enjoys hammering out logistics and bringing forth new realities.
Chamorro-Premusic, T. (2017). Does Diversity Actually Increase Creativity? Harvard Business Review.
Sylvia Ann Hewlett, M. M. (2013). How Diversity Can Drive Innovation. Harvard Business Review.
Yellin, A. K. (2020, October). Millennial generation is bigger, more diverse than boomers. Retrieved from CNN Business: https://money.cnn.com/interactive/economy/diversity-millennials-boomers/