What do the Black Voters Matter Fund, the New Georgia Project Action Fund, the Georgia NAACP, and the Georgia Black Caucas all have in common? Well, they all recently called upon corporations in Georgia to put pressure on lawmakers to stop the #SB241 and #HB531 bills that these groups see as a civil rights era bill that will send minority voting rights back to the 1950s. As much as we try to keep diversity and inclusion (D&I) in a box that pertains to office matters only, corporate America, politics, and society are an ecosystem and D&I can no longer be considered to be a nice-to-have– it’s fundamental to the health of every business in the U.S.
A case as to why D&I is necessary is often required before taking action in the U.S. business sector, despite the fact that a lack of inclusion is the daily reality for Black and Brown people that live and work in this country. Business leaders must be aware that there is a cost and a very steep fall that happens when diversity and inclusion-related issues surface. Companies can lose revenue, and the potential repercussions of anti-inclusion can terminally impact corporations and tarnish corporate reputations. The storming of the capital that occurred on Wednesday, January 6, 2021, changed the demeanor of American democracy and was a day that signaled to corporate America that neutrality was no longer an option. After the capital riot and years of anti-inclusive political behavior, here’s how some businesses took action.
- Former President Trump was banned from social media: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit, Twitch, YouTube, Snapchat, Discord, and TikTok
- Shopify’s ban cost Trump approximately $931,000 per year
- Professional Bank and Deutsche Bank AG cut ties with Trump
- Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Microsoft reevaluated their donations to the republican party
- The 2022 PGA Golf Championship canceled their contract with Trump, which would have brought in about $2 million annually
- New York City’s contract cancellation will cost Trump around $18 million per year
- ESPN and NASCAR cut ties with Trump
- Tenants are looking to move out of Trump properties which could impact the 59% of former President Trump’s income brought in from his real estate holdings
D&I is Still Mostly Reactive Versus a Core Value
Diversity and inclusion remains reactionary in many businesses today, and moving from intention to action seems remarkably hard for key decision-makers because many on the C-Level believe that diversity and inclusion is a personal choice versus a necessary part of their business. This gap often prevents businesses from applying organizational revenue to a specific and tangible Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan, and this reality continues to exist despite revealing data such as this:
- McKinsey clearly showed the connection between companies in the top quartile for ethnic and gender diversity and increased financial returns above industry peers.
- Out of 5,241 adults that Glassdoor surveyed in the U.S., UK, France, and Germany. 42% of workers here in the U.S. stated that they have either witnessed or personally experienced racism in their place of work.
- According to the American Bar Association, minority women are 35 percent less likely to receive a job referral than Caucasian men, and the referral bonuses that dominate industries, especially in technology, perpetuate systemic racism to disadvantaged groups.
Moving the Needle in Organizational D&I Requires Reworking Loss/Gain Metrics
In the corporate world, the bottom line that drives business decisions puts revenue on a throne above all. This means that whatever is not quantifiable or an observable threat/asset to gain is not considered fundamental and is automatically categorized as unnecessary. What’s missing from the decision-making process is the human variable, which takes into consideration the wide range of values that can be demonstrated by human physical or mental behaviors that can make or break an organization. Identifying the impact of human behavior is scientifically grounded and deduced from bioinformatics, which can calculate the human variable in business planning. Even though the power of the human variable is a measurable, and clearly identifiable component, these facts and figures have not compelled businesses to act beyond issuing statements when it comes to fixing people-related issues such as the diversity and inclusion gap.
Redefining the meaning of loss and gain from a corporate perspective is vital in making diversity and inclusion part of an organization’s core values versus an add-on to be used when something goes wrong.
There are real consequences to inaction and allowing systemic racism to continue to operate freely in a corporate environment. Companies can technically last without diversity and inclusion and remain profitable, but it will sooner or later eat away at a company’s:
- Negative Glassdoor ratings
- Social media backlash
- Difficulty hiring diverse hires
- Potential discrimination issues and EEOC investigations
- Trouble finding “qualified” individuals that meet a certain typecast
- High turnover of diverse hires because of missing inclusivity in corporate culture
Revenue and Growth
- Investors may not want to engage
- Could threaten strategic partnerships
- Funding may be pulled
The Future of D&I
We here in the west have short memories, and as the world starts to move past the pandemic, the lessons that we’ve learned will likely be forgotten. The good thing is that we have an ideal example of what diverse leadership should look like in the Whitehouse for the first time in our nation’s history. This just might send companies into a frenzied panic to assimilate in order to have a healthy working relationship with federal entities.
The sights, sounds, and feelings that have been etched into our memories during this time of civil unrest will never be forgotten by many, and several more now see and feel the pain that systemic racism deals out to minorities that suffer from it every day. Yet, the fight is not over, and as critical campaign years come upon us in 2022 and 2024, the U.S. must face off time and time again with its past, and corporate America will be forced to repeatedly make a choice to be part of the problem or part of the solution.
Want to know more? Check out my Diversity and Inclusion course on Udemy.