Diversity used to be considered just the “right thing to do.” But in my experience, intentionally building a diverse workforce reveals a much deeper impact. An inclusive workplace – one in which people feel they belong and to which they can bring the richness of their experiences to work every day – is imperative for any organization that wants to succeed in the global marketplace.
At Crowe Horwath LLP, we know that taking care of our clients and the people who take care of our clients leads to success and growth, not only for the firm itself, but also for our clients and our people. In order to thrive and survive, diversity and inclusion must be a core aspect of who we are and who we want to be.
Diversity leads to better client service, highly engaged people, and vital innovation.
With diversity, client service is better and clients are more engaged. My personal experience is that more diverse client teams are often the most successful. In order to deliver valuable solutions for our clients, we need an increasingly diverse workforce. A diverse workforce provides a variety of perspectives and points of view, which can help provide a better experience for clients. Taking full advantage of the unique capabilities and experiences of each team member in order to bring the best ideas and solutions to a client is a win-win.
People want to be valued for who they are and to feel a sense of belonging with the organization and colleagues they work with every day. I believe organizations that engage all people so that they feel respected, valued, and capable of performing their best work will drive higher commitment and engagement.
The more diverse and inclusive a team, the more innovation is fueled. A diverse workforce enhances the creativity and innovative thinking that is fundamental to an organization’s success. Innovative solutions come from fostering dynamic teams, and an inclusive work environment that encourages innovative thinking leads to creative solutions for our clients.
Bringing out the best in people generates future career success.
Excellence doesn’t come easy. It’s not just something you’re born with. Excellence comes from hard work, dedication, a bit of luck and a good dose of help and support from others. In fact, I have often wondered if I would have gotten where I am in my career if I had had all of those things but was born a different gender or race. Would the opportunities I have been afforded and the support I have been provided been different? I’ve come to appreciate the answer to that question may very well be “yes.” Perhaps I wouldn’t have been consciously excluded from opportunity or denied support; but unconsciously, I believe that could have been the case. As a result, I feel a deep and personal obligation to remove biases that can limit an individual’s potential and future career success.
Helping others achieve excellence involves formal and informal coaching, mentorship, sponsorship, stretch assignments, encouragement, and introductions. One way of encouraging people is to invite them to come together and learn about each other’s common interests. Creating forums in which people can share common experiences and educate those who have different life experiences creates a level of deeper understanding and appreciation.
A “thousand acts a day” drives change.
A high level of engagement is key to driving change. Commitment to diversity and inclusion needs to go beyond a simple head shake in agreeing that it’s important. I believe it takes a “thousand acts a day” to create meaningful and sustainable change. Formal programs and structures are necessary, but to me, the real action happens every day in every interaction that takes place across the organization. Every person must seek to understand a perspective or life experience different from his or her own, and in turn, use that knowledge to create an environment in which every individual’s uniqueness matters. Such an environment helps us bring the best of ourselves to our work each and every day.
The journey of creating and sustaining a diverse and inclusive workforce is not an easy one. Working together with fellow CEOs and their organizations to take collective action is a unique and powerful opportunity for us to not just chip away at incremental change, but to drive transformational change for all.
In this series, CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion™ signatory CEOs share their dedication to acting for workplace diversity and inclusion to make impactful changes that benefit both business and society. Follow along with #CEOAction and learn more at CEOAction.com