How to Start a Conversation With Your Boss About Increasing Workplace Diversity

How to Start a Conversation With Your Boss About Increasing Workplace Diversity
From Recruiter - November 18, 2016

Although C-suite executives are paid to lead others through the difficult landscape of business, when it comes to diversity and inclusion, those who need to change are often you guessed itthe C-suite leaders themselves. How can those of us who seek change in our organizations make a compelling case to our leadership that increasing workplace diversity is good for everyone concerned?

The fact is, equality is good for people and for business. Here are four ideas for starting the conversation in a way your leaders will understand and appreciate:

1. Well Attract and Keep More Great Employees If Our Culture Is More Inclusive

Replacing employees is expensive and time-consuming, and one of the last things companies want is that revolving door whereby diverse talent specifically seems to be leaving a particular business unit or leader in large numbers. Given how difficult it is to source talent in the first place, its especially expensive to lose it and, of course, demoralizing to see it lost.

2. Were Feeling Pressure From the People, Customers/Clients, and Partners We Do Business With

Increasingly, in every bid released to procure goods and services (often called requests for proposals, or RFPs), the company doing the buying asks questions about the bidders diversity metrics, programs, and progress in the bidding process. More and more buyers want to see evidence of organizational commitment and some traction on diversity among the suppliers and partners they evaluate. Sales might be won or lost on the ability of the company doing the pitching to answer questions about itsown internal commitment to diversity.

When bidders have no program to describeand certainly when they bring an all-white, all-male sales team to the RFP presentation meetingwe have seen it concretely hurt their prospects for winning the business. Sams Club CEO Rosalind Brewer appeared on CNN in 2015, and whilediscussing Sams Clubs commitment to diversity, she explained that she talks directly to current and would-be Sams Club suppliers about diversity and gives them feedback when they send all-white, all-male teams to meetings: Every now and then you have to nudge your partners. You have to speak up and speak out. And I try to use my platform for that. I try to set an example.

Given that it so tangibly hurts the bottom line, it can be motivational for companiesand especially the C-suiteto understand the potential financial penalties for inaction.


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