Diversity and inclusion is an issue which has evolved significantly in the past few years, from an emphasis on racial diversity to an emphasis on diversity of ideas and experiences. Most major companies have diversity and inclusion programs, although these often vary in scope and can focus on different things. Some examples of diversity and inclusion initiatives which are fairly representative of the field include:
- Targeting new hiring to reflect the customer demographics (especially in international markets, this could include age, origin, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation)
- Promoting company resource groups based on age, origin, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation
- Encouraging employees to put forth their ideas for new products to be considered by upper management
Why does business engage this issue?
Desire to remain competitive. As companies become increasingly global, they are highly sensitive to the fact that diversity of thought and experience can help them to produce goods and services relevant for new demographics. Diversity and inclusion programs are also the outcome of stakeholder demand for non-homogenous workforces; companies are increasingly interested in ensuring that their workforce reflects their customer base. Diversity and inclusion programs can provide valuable resources to recruit and retain a strong employee base that will generate novel ideas.