MReport April 2019

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14 | TH E M R EP O RT COVER STORY Blending D&I: Rattling the Status Quo MReport looks at why the industry must go beyond approaching diversity from a policy perspective to create an all-inclusive workforce that harnesses the power of divergent point of views. By Donna Joseph W hile diversity and inclusion has been at the forefront of workplace conversations, the distinct nature and impact of both the processes often go undifferentiated. Most organizations have done well in adding people from a wide roster of demographic characteristics to their team. However, once hired, the practice of infusing a sense of belonging through the active process of inclusion—creating a cultural and environmental feeling of belonging—lags behind. While diversity is tangible in a sense that one can see faces from different ethnicities and backgrounds in a workplace, inclusion can be assessed only by understanding the extent to which employees are valued, respected, accepted, and encouraged to fully participate in the organization. To put it simply, while focusing on diversity is essential to attracting great talent, inclusion is what will retain employees. During our conversations with some of the professionals who are committed to further D&I, MReport learned how far we have come and how much is still left to do to create an all-inclusive workforce that goes beyond the framework of policy-making. Understanding the Nuances V erna Myers, a diversity and inclusion consultant whose TED Talk on overcoming bias has received nearly 1.2 million views, said, "Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance." This analogy resonates meaningfully with people who comprise today's multicultural workforce. Despite roadblocks, given the opportunities at our disposal, this might be the most effective time to manifestly refashion the dynamics of diversity and inclusion from transactional interactions to value-based relationships. While a framework of robust policies is of paramount significance for legal protection, it is the everyday personal experience of employees that determines how successfully they have been implemented. Defining what inclusion means to her, Dana Dillard, EVP, Corporate Social Responsibility, Mr. Cooper said, "Inclusion is about having a seat at the table and a voice. It's not enough to just have diversity, the inclusion part is just as important." One of the pitfalls of embed- ding D&I initiatives from a mere policy perspective is the failure to cut through hierarchies of power. When power is concentrated in the hands of a few who are from a similar background—consciously or subconsciously—they circum- scribe the space within which diversity can operate freely. Randy Miller, President, Randall S. Miller & Associates explained, "To me, diversity includes a workforce comprised of a representative number of races, religions, and genders. Inclusion is the act of in- corporating the diverse workforce into the decision-making process. If half of your workforce is made of up of various minority groups, but none are part of management or upper management, you have not been inclusive. Instead, you would be considered homog- enous." Carina Cortez, EVP, People, Ellie Mae, perceives inclusion to be "the intentional act of ensuring that everyone, regardless of surface-level category, is able to bring their authentic self to work and has a valued voice as part of a team." D&I From a Financial Standpoint I n an effort to understand the impact of diversity on revenue generation, a 2018 study by the Boston Consulting Group looked into 1,700 different companies across eight different countries, with varying industries and company sizes. The study revealed that companies that have more diverse management teams have 19 percent higher revenue due to innovation. This improved financial perfor- mance was attributed to the level of increased diversity at leadership levels, making a strong business case for D&I. Sharing her insights on how D&I initiatives quantifiably brings in more business, Lola Oyewole, Director, Human Resources and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Ocwen Financial Corporation said, "There is significant research that shows that having a diverse workforce drives economic growth. A report by McKinsey & Company found that a 10 percent increase in diversity in the senior executive team resulted in an almost 1 percent rise in earnings in the U.S. A 10 percent increase in

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