"Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance."
-- Vernā Myers, diversity & inclusion expert and author of the book, Moving Diversity Forward: How to Move From Well-Meaning to Well-Doing
The conversation is changing -- again.
Because we don't just need more women sitting at the corporate table, we need everyone - every race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation and religion.
We need inclusion.
And it's not just a social imperative.
It's good business.
And while many companies claim they support inclusion in the workplace, it's often nothing but a recruiting slogan.
A 2017 BDO Board Survey found that 34% of the board members they talked with admitted to falling short in this area. (We're guessing that if everyone truly looked within and answered honestly, the percentage would be much higher.)
Because it's very easy to tell a young woman that she has equal opportunity for professional development - it's much harder (for some reason) to offer her that seat at the table.
Granted some companies are trying to get this right. EY, AT&T (T) , Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) , MasterCard (MA) and Wells Fargo (WFC) all ranked at the top of DiverisityInc's Top 50 Companies for Diversity list.
But remember, diversity is very different than inclusion. In very simple terms, diversity is getting all kinds of people in the room. Inclusion is actually listening to them and assigning them jobs that showcase their distinct skills and beliefs.
DiversityInc, which has been compiling this list since 2001, ranked Deloitte at #12 but the firm's recent announcement, geared exclusively at inclusion, may catapult them to the top.
"We live in an age where people are multi-dimensional, and it's important that we embrace all of the diverse attributes that make each person unique. Research shows that millennials and digital natives do not want to identify within just one single cohort," Deloitte CEO Cathy Engelbert told #AlphaRising, exclusively.
So the firm is "reimagining inclusion." They have introduced "inclusion councils," that include everyone - not just one particular group of people.
"Involvement in major inclusion events has more than tripled in some offices because of our new Inclusion Council approach. Stop and think about that-tripled."
Deloitte already was ahead of this curve when we spoke with Deepa Purushotham, one of their managing principals, back in March 2017.
She told us about how, 25 years ago, the firm was progressive enough to launch a big women's initiative. (Be sure to watch the video above for more details.)
And the firm has stayed consistently open-minded, with Engelbert being the first woman CEO of a major professional services firm in the US.
But since millennials comprise 70% of their national workforce, they need to keep pushing the conversation forward to retain talent, says Purushothaman.
So they basically are opening the doors -- of the individual support groups they once established -- to everyone.
Businesses need to pay attention. Actively involving employees' ideas, knowledge and perspectives have been proven to maximize business success.
The changing faces of your customer must be represented in your office.
And you can't just check the "diversity box" or put the word "inclusion" on your recruiting website and call it a day. Special thanks to the millennials and social media, but you will be called out in a millisecond if you're not authentic.
So think this through and do it right.
Deloitte is going all in.
#AlphaRising is going all in.
It's time you do too.
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