We are in the midst of a seismic shift when it comes to how companies address diversity, equity, and inclusion. This is, in part, due to the recognition that the strategies organizations have traditionally used to create more space at the table for historically excluded groups haven’t worked for some time. Getting this right has huge upsides, for employees, society, and the economy alike: According to McKinsey, narrowing the gender gap by 2025 would generate an additional $12 trillion in GDP and increasing financial inclusion for Black Americans would create approximately $2 billion in potential revenue.
But in addition to focusing on gender, race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation, leaders need to include a wider range of people their organizations have been ignoring, consciously or subconsciously. By broadening their definition of diversity, leaders can better identify, engage, and integrate individuals into their organizations. And according to a recent initiative I led as the Executive Director at Rutgers Institute for Corporate Social Innovation (RICSI), tomorrow’s employees will increasingly value this approach, too.
At RICSI, we focus on the role of business in society, and specifically educating students to embrace and champion a business world that “practices what it preaches” when it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Our belief is that corporations have a better chance at achieving positive social impact when they hire leaders who believe in a marriage between profit and purpose — and that these leaders should have a breadth and depth of diverse experiences.
Our work is anchored in a commitment to equity and justice, as Rutgers is one of the country’s most diverse public universities. According to our most recent data, of the 7,975 undergraduate students on the Rutgers Newark campus (where RICSI is located), 28.9% identify as Hispanic, 18.4% as Black/African American, and 17.8% as Asian. The school has been ranked one of the nation’s most diverse campuses since 1997 and a top-three school for most first-generation college students in the U.S. These race and ethnicity statistics continuously make us one of the top three most diverse research institutions in the country.
Through our partnerships — both with students and companies that work with RICSI — we demonstrate how organizations might broaden their view of diversity. For example, in 2020, we surveyed 120 students who are part of our student advisory board following the murder of George Floyd. Through written responses and ongoing conversations, we discussed their thoughts as young, diverse leaders on how DEI efforts are packaged today in organizations.
Feedback ranged from encouraging leaders to hire Black executives for more C-suite roles — beyond a “Chief Diversity Officer” — to combining outreach into communities that are regularly ignored with implementing blind hiring processes. According to one of our students, “While companies are currently working on hiring more people of color as a whole, they are treated as a ‘check in the box.’”
For all they had to say on racial equity, however, their comments made it clear that a focus on traditional markers of diversity are not enough. Similar to developmental psychologist Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences, our students expressed a need to expand the notion of diversity to include a number of additional factors — such as age, socioeconomic status, and lived experience. READ MORE
by Noa Gafni
Since the last iteration of this list, a global pandemic and numerous social justice movements have rocked the U.S. Of the thousands of companies considered for the ranking, 60% are proactively sharing on their websites what they’re doing to promote diversity, up from 46% this time last year. Additionally, 28% now have a senior leader whose sole responsibility is DEI, up from 18% in 2020.
The need to promote diversity, equality and inclusion (DEI) goals in the chemicals industry remains a pivotal challenge for the sector. This was brought into focus at the European Petrochemical Association’s (EPCA) 55th annual event, in a virtual roundtable discussion.
A year and a half into the COVID-19 pandemic, women in corporate America are even more burned out than they were last year—and increasingly more so than men. Despite this, women leaders are stepping up to support employee well-being and diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, but that work is not getting recognized. That’s according to the latest Women in the Workplace report from McKinsey, in partnership with LeanIn.Org.