Changing How Enterprises Think About DEI Mentoring

Mentoring Programs
Published on
November 4, 2021

Books sales, corporate seminars, and other business events providing training in diversity, equity, and inclusion practices have experienced a marked increase in popularity over the last few years. The DEI training industry is experiencing billions of dollars in investment, confirming that more and more capital-heavy institutions are investing in these practices to meet consumer, employee, and societal expectations. However, Chief People Officers and Chief Diversity Officers need to know that DEI practicesI are about much more than just adjusting to consumer preferences. They are about mentoring a future generation of diverse and representative leaders. 

The benefits of a fully inclusive enterprise network extend across multiple domains of organizational and individual performance, improving key performance indicators like revenue, employee engagement, and customer satisfaction. Then, of course, there’s the larger societal impact of a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive marketplace. As the percentages of people from marginalized communities in the C-Suite and the upper-management level continue to approach representative levels, companies will experience an influx of talent from traditional untapped sources. This not only improves the diversity of leadership, but helps build the practices that will improve true diversity, equity, and inclusion across the rank and file as well. 

Creating a more equitable society starts with a change in mindset. Here’s how mentoring helps create an enterprise environment that fully embraces DEI best practices

Changing How Enterprises Think About Mentoring and DEI

Changing someone’s mind is never an easy task. Changing how an entire organization thinks about something is a monumental task, one that requires a consistent and concerted effort. That’s why it’s so important that enterprise executives and upper management stakeholders change how they think about DEI. Below are some of the paradigms that leadership needs to adopt when planning or revamping their diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. 

DEI is More than Race

The events of last summer and the resulting protests highlighting racial injustices were certainly a catalyst for the rejuvenation of diversity, equity, and inclusion measures at the enterprise level. After the murder of George Floyd, many companies came out in support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement and pledged to address systemic issues in the workplace. Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) face many barriers on the road to socio-economic inclusion, particularly when it comes to upward mobility within the corporate structure. 

But enterprise stakeholders need to remember that DEI is more than just a racial issue. 

From women to those across the LGTBQ+ community to those with disabilities, numerous marginalized groups have been held back from opportunities due to overt or systemic bias. Acknowledging this isn’t about spreading blame or labeling people as “racist.” It’s about addressing unconscious bias and barriers to inclusion at the enterprise level. 

DEI activities and initiatives are the rising tides that lift all boats.  

It’s a Top-Down Process

There are very few organizational initiatives that make a real impact without top-down adoption. When leaders only pay lip service to issues like DEI and sustainability, they often do more harm than good. This is especially true when it comes to the former. 

Enterprise mentoring programs are so impactful from a DEI perspective because they provide the marginalized employees with the equal playing field necessary to move upwards in the organization, serving to rewrite the script regarding the corporate status quo. After all, it’s the upper-level hiring and promotion practices that are most often cited as a barrier to creating a diverse leadership group. 

Previous attempts at addressing systemic bias within large organizations focused primarily on training lower-level employees about how to identify and discourage discriminatory practices. Unfortunately, reports show that these low-level interventions often serve to alienate coworkers of different minority groups from one another. This off-loading of the responsibility down the corporate ladder is an all-too-common practice in contemporary business. 

Top executives need to adopt the mindset that they are the mentors responsible for creating a work environment that embraces diversity, equity, and inclusion. Many executives also witness firsthand the numerous operational benefits that an increase in DEI activities brings to large firms throughout this process. 

DEI is Good For Business

Much has been written, spoken, and read on the topic of “the business case for DEI.” As with many institutional changes, most stakeholders need to be presented with a compelling reason — generally financial in nature — for any organizational change. This is true for everything from digital transformation and change management to decisions to enter emerging markets. 

When it comes to proving how DEI is good for business, there’s no shortage of evidence. Here are a few of the financial and operational advantages that diverse and inclusive firms experience compared to their more traditional counterparts: 

  • Companies that are more diverse in terms of gender and race are between 25% and 36% more likely to financially outperform their average competitor
  • Revenue derived from process and product innovation is around 20% higher in diverse employers
  • Diverse enterprise firms receive 2 times more cash flow per worker, and smaller firms can increase per capita cash flow by over 10 times.
  • Companies with more diverse talent pools are much less likely to incur costly turnover expenses.

The startup and running costs of mentoring services are quite low in comparison to these financial benefits. Large consultancies and analytics firms have known for years now that the DEI business case is air tight. It’s now on enterprise executives, board members, and other stakeholders to ensure that enterprise level companies are able to realize this competitive financial edge. 

It may sound cliche, but DEI is a journey, not a deadline. It takes consistent work and high adherence for a meaningful, material change to occur. At MentorCloud, we have been leveraging our comprehensive mentoring software to help multinational, and SMEs realize the catalytic effect that mentoring has for driving measurable results in DEI initiatives. Contact our experts today to learn how our system can integrate seamlessly with your current ERP!

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