Fostering Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion with Global Enterprise

Performance Measurement
Published on
September 9, 2021

Although questions of how to make global corporations more diverse have been around for decades, material changes across the organizational hierarchy are drastically increasing in the wake of last summer’s events. A string of horrifying events perpetrated against racialized citizens — punctuated by the murder of George Floyd at the hands of police officer Derrick Chauvin — pushed racial injustice to the forefront of the global zeitgeist. From conducting mass protests to increasing political accountability to initiatives for repurposing public funding, there are many outlets through which people are promoting change across our institutions. This includes the boardrooms of multinational corporations. 

The Competitive Advantage of Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive Organizations

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. These are more than just buzzwords finding their way onto company landing pages and websites. For instance, experts estimate that $2 billion in potential revenue will be unlocked if comprehensive financial inclusion is expanded to African Americans. Other organizational benefits of increasing DEI within organizations include: 

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are the new benchmarks by which consumers, employees, and business partners evaluate which organizations to engage with. These changes are long overdue, and executives who neglect to make actionable changes to improve the inclusive nature of their organizations for all employees are beginning to fall behind. 

To better benefit from the competitive advantages of a diverse organization, it is important to understand what DEI means and which available methods are best for building such an organization.

DEI Meaning

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, or DEI as it’s commonly referred to, is the culmination of three foundational concepts relating to the interaction of collectives in various social settings. These core concepts and tenets serve as a reminder of how society is supposed to function and as goals to which each and every organization should aspire. Trailblazers, like those at Tuskegee University’s Cooperative Extension program, define the three pillars of DEI as follows: 

Diversity: Occurs when people of a different race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, religion, and ability are all active contributors within a group.  

Equity: Occurs when the policies, processes, and procedures of an institution or system are designed to promote both fairness, impartiality, and just results

Inclusion: Occurs when people from all different walks of life feel welcome within a group, are encouraged to participate, and can realize developmental and decision-making opportunities. 

When applied in isolation, it’s easy for organizations to simply check boxes and make performative gestures that signal diversity. But, by incorporating equity and inclusion measures, real change to enterprise systems are achievable and, best of all, they benefit everyone. 

Fostering Enterprise DEI: From Boardroom to Entry Level

Diversity training is important to companies, with one 2018 estimate putting the price tag at USD 8 Billion for the half of mid- and large-sized US companies that implement such programming. Unfortunately, many companies fall short when it comes to achieving the long-lasting changes necessary to make a real improvement in inclusion. From the boardroom to entry-level and everywhere in between, there are common missteps within organizational hierarchies that reduce the durability of diversity, equity, and inclusion policies.

When implementing DEI initiative at the enterprise level, executives and other stakeholders in leadership must be clear about the specific outcomes they are looking for. While all diversity programs seek to increase the representation of minority groups within the company, the specific objectives of these initiatives can vary considerably from firm to firm. Fostering a strong, lasting culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion within enterprise companies requires that leadership creates goals that produce lasting change within their specific organizational context. 

Prioritizing individual changes over systems-level changes is cited as a major issue when it comes to assessing the efficacy of enterprise diversity training programs. When looked at through the lens of DEI, it's easier to see why these issues arise: programs focusing primarily on increasing diversity don’t actually address the systems-level issues within organizations that contribute to bias and exclusion. 

This is particularly true when it comes to the longevity of positive effects. Companies all too often rely on initial feedback and results from employees after DEI training, neglecting to conduct their programming and analysis over the course of a longer time period. 

When it comes to studying the impact of the DEI pillars on enterprise performance, diversity receives the most attention. Experts in the field believe that the broad acceptance of DEI programming provides ample opportunity for future research into the exact mechanism by which these initiatives help improve enterprise outcomes. This will help future executives and upper management determine the most effective programs at fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion within large organizations. 

One particular method that is showing promise comes in the form of mentorship. 

Mentorship: The Key to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Training

One of the most effective ways for global enterprises to realize their diversity, equity, and inclusion goals is through the implementation of a comprehensive DEI mentoring program. These experiences benefit the company through improvements in employee retention, team cohesion, psychological safety, and workplace productivity, but they also help marginalized groups achieve leadership positions. Mentoring is so much more effective than traditional methods of DEI coaching because it is built on the strength of relationships. 

While coaching is more of a unilateral interaction, mentoring platforms allow employees of all backgrounds to learn from, communicate with, and lean on professionals with the requisite experience in DEI. This is especially helpful for companies at the global enterprise level, as improvements in technology now allow for the implementation of mentoring software. This means employees can maintain connections with skilled mentors from across the globe, ensuring that they have the best chance of finding a DEI expert to connect with. The longevity and strength of these mentoring relationships are one of the best ways to make enduring, positive progress towards enterprise diversity, equity, and inclusion goals. 

To learn more about how a tech-enabled DEI mentorship program will foster more DEI within your global enterprise, contact the experts at MentorCloud today. Our mentoring software is being used around the globe by hundreds of thousands of users who are looking to improve their skills in the new era of workplace diversity, equity, and inclusion.  

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