Diversity isn’t black or white, its GREEN $$$ or £££ or €€€ (Part 1)

Websters defines diversity as:

  1. The condition of having or being composed of different elements: especially the inclusion of different types of people (as people of different races or cultures) in a group or organization.


Twenty five to thirty years ago companies adopted diversity initiatives because it was the right thing to do and companies wanted to comply with governmental requirements. Whatever the driving factors, it really doesn’t matter because the actions taken many years ago have justified the ends. For example, XYZ touts that there are x % of diverse workforces in today’s environment compared to 198X. And by 2050 the US will be split 50/50 between white and non whites. Guess what? All numbers have economic implications, and according to SHRM, the combined Black, Hispanic, and Asian buying power in the US are over 750 Billion dollars. What about diversity inclusion efforts in comparison to stock performance? According to a study done by Covenant Investment Management who used data from 100 of the S&P 500, found that companies who invest in “glass ceiling related goals” had higher stock market performance by 2.5 times!


Because of the efforts over the years in understanding the social, business, and economic value impact, more companies in the 21st century have benefited with diverse workforces creating more value for their people and shareholders. Of course, this can’t be a blanket statement, however the data supports when organizations widely accept and invest in a culture with diverse backgrounds, better performance, ideas, productivity and greater access to attract talent is the norm.

Yippee! We’ve arrived…..hold on there. Not quite so fast. Great progress has been made, but there is still a lot more progress needed in the US and around the globe. There is still a great shortage of diverse talent in specific roles. For instance, 20% of programmers are woman reported by National Public Radio. In 1984, 37.1% of computer science degrees were awarded to women; the percentage dropped to 12% by 2010-2011. What increases the importance and urgency is the fact that IT worker supply will not keep up with demand according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as the US economy will produce 1.4 million new IT jobs by 2020. If women don’t enter the workforce, then the prediction is that 2/3 of these jobs will go unfilled. So who will create the next great app for counting dust particles on a Q-tip? Kidding aside, there is a serious issue globally.

At the same time, as global companies expand their footprint in about every corner of the world, their corporate values will follow. And if their values are based on a diverse workforce for the above stated reasons, then the trends tell us they will continue their mission and not fear breaking down social norms in a region or country. This doesn’t apply to all industries, but we are seeing this trend with progressive organizations in technology and consulting companies. One of our favorite customers, a big three IT consulting firm with exceptional shareholder returns, decided 8-10 years ago to make a concerted effort to invest resources with the intention to find and attract the very best talent from all cultures in order to drive a more diverse workforce. We’ve been fortunate to be a part of that commitment, and over time, grateful to have become their leading supplier for diversity talent.

So what should a company be doing? There is the standard answer to spend a lot of resources and money to go to the latest diversity job fairs, advertise on specialty websites, or do all the same things everyone has been doing for the last 15 years. If you are in one of those organizations, ask yourself if you see the same people/companies there year after year, spending a ton of money, competing after the same candidates, and wondering, is this really a great use of our resources? Maybe you are happy with the great hotels, good food, and some time away from the corporate glass bubble, but there has to be a better way. Don’t get me wrong, there is a definite need for the job fair events that solve short term talent shortage issues, and if you don’t show up, you may miss something. But if you are going to beat your competitors and compete for diverse talent in the 21st century, then you have to become more creative and think differently about a strategy that not only captures the talent now, but captures valuable data that can be used to attract and engage talent down the road. The innovative companies like Google, and a handful of others see this issue clearly, and are planning for it. Ok, so you don’t have the budget or the bandwidth like a Google, but you can develop a strategy around three things:

  1. Talent Intelligence—a data gathering methodology designed to capture structured talent data3
  2. Talent Pipelining--- a rhythmic plan to communicate and engage your future workforce
  3. Talent Acquisition--- an on demand strategy to attract talent rapidly


A strategy integrating all three allows you to have a proactive long-term plan to address future talent shortages, increase your diverse workforce for all of the right social and business reasons, and lastly, create greater value for your people, your company, your shareholders, and your community. In my next blog, I’ll go deeper into explaining how to develop the strategy and tools.

Until next time, Keep Charging!



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