The recent backlash (see The Daily Show, NPR, Washington Post…just to name a few) against corporate participation in Pride month should serve as a very visible reminder that it’s critical for companies to authentically embrace diversity & inclusion (D&I) efforts, starting with getting their own internal house in order.
A panel on Diversity and Inclusion was one of the features of this year’s Engage for Good event with executives from United Airlines, PwC and Caesar’s Entertainment and moderated by Fenton’s Zain Habboo. Here are three takeaways from this panel discussion (which you can view here):
All panelists saw D&I as a business imperative, although their individual focus areas varied dramatically. According to PwC’s Rod Adams, “Our purpose as a firm is to build trust in society and solve important problems. The ability to solve problems comes from having a diverse team. If you’re going to bring the best solutions to the table, you need to bring people with a lot of different skill sets and a lot of different experiences.”
Elevating the D&I conversation is critical, both with employees and consumers. United’s Kate Gebo shared that a significant part of the company’s annual succession planning focuses on diverse talent and raising individual profiles.
Honing resources on a few key D&I goals helps a company make progress on the most important issues within a corporate ecosystem. According to Caesar’s Entertainment’s Gwen Migita, “You have to think about DEI in dog years. Choose your battles, pick a few things and do it well because culture change takes generations.”
Tackling an issue as loaded as diversity & inclusion can be a challenge and shouldn’t be done lightly. The stakes only continue to climb higher, in the hearts and minds of both consumers and employees. Companies must address D&I at all levels of the organization, not only for the social impact but also to harness the business impact and remain competitive.
Watch the D&I panel at Engage for Good here.