Diversity and Inclusion as a Differentiator in Supply Chains

Studies validate that an inclusive company culture and a diverse workforce is a true competitive advantage for businesses.

By Maria Leggett

Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) is the burning platform right now. Studies by Deloitte and McKinsey validate that an inclusive company culture and a diverse workforce is a true competitive advantage for businesses. Companies who embrace doing things differently through diversity of thought and behaviors in a safe, inclusive work environment are three times more likely to have overall better market outcomes. Clearly, having a diverse workforce positively impacts the bottom line in terms of profit, performance and engagement. As commerce continues to become more global with an increasingly diverse customer base, organizations will need to adjust to the socio-culture changes for their industry. Simply put, not addressing D&I is bad for business.

The 2019 MHI Annual Conference brought together industry D&I professionals to share their expertise during the panel session “Using Diversity as Your Differentiator.” Moderated by Terri Moore, associate principal at Korn Ferry in the D&I Practice, panel participants included Kelly Brown, director of global talent at Hyster-Yale Group, Diane Cummins, senior consultant at Simpactful, Dr. Randy V. Bradley, associate professor of information systems and supply chain management at the University of Tennessee and Dr. Mary-Clare Race, president of MindGym.

During the session, panelists discussed small pivots and opportunities to weave D&I into the business and everyday culture. The discussion focused on selecting strategic pieces of a bigger D&I strategy that fit an organization rather than trying to launch a large effort all at once. Here are some highlights of the discussion.

Clarify the definition of diversity and inclusion

Company leaders know that prioritizing D&I is the right thing to do. However, many organizations are not clear on what the terms mean. Often D&I initiatives only focus on diversity staffing or formal D&I training. Even worse, some organizations have enforced diversity through hiring and retainment quotas with no regard to inclusion. The result is diversity becomes earmarked as a data point, which in turn creates a culture fearful of being different.

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