Customer Success

Highest Rated CEOs Share the Business Case for Diversity and Inclusion

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Have you ever read expert predictions at the end of the year and wondered how many of them actually come true? Here’s proof of that at least one for 2017 did:

In its Predictions for 2017 report published at the end of 2016, Bersin by Deloitte predicted, “Diversity, inclusion, and the removal of unconscious bias will become CEO-level issues in 2017.” Just halfway through the year, more than 175 CEOs of some of the world’s largest companies joined together to create an alliance called CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion. Alliance member companies have pledged to 1) create a safe workplace environment for dialogue around diversity and inclusion topics, 2) implement and expand unconscious bias education, and 3) share best – and unsuccessful – practices.

The reason behind this CEO level focus on diversity isn’t just to make the world a better place: it’s about creating better business outcomes in the face of changing demographics. In our new eBook, Guide to Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace, we share the business case for diversity and inclusion as well as tips on how to recruit for diversity and build an inclusive culture.

Recently we were able to catch up with three of the CEOs who joined the CEO Action alliance and also happen to be on our 2017 Highest Rated CEOs list. Here’s what they had to say.

Inclusion is the part of the business at Hilton

For a hospitality company with 350,000 employees at nearly 5,000 locations in 104 countries, diversity is part of the equation. CEO Christopher Nassetta, 2017 Glassdoor #49 U.S. Highest Rated CEO told us, “to put it in a real simple way, we’re a business of people serving people. Period, end of story. If we ever lose sight of that it’s a real problem.” Openness and inclusivity is a must in the hospitality business when customers and employees come from all over the world. He continued, “The minute we stop short of serving customers and really delivering authentic experiences it’s an issue for our growth and performance.”

CHRO Matthew Schuyler elaborated on how the focus on diversity trickles down into operations. “The best teams of course are the most diverse teams and the best environments are the most inclusive environments. Leaders are empowered to build diverse teams and are rewarded to do so. A diverse team can provide the best service because of the different skills and different moments that come into play. Having the same of everything isn’t going to allow you to provide the best guest service.”

Diversity helps Clorox create better products

With $5.8 billion dollars in revenue, 8,000 employees, and dozens of market-leading brands sold in more than 100 countries, Clorox has to stay in touch with its customers in order for its employee base to market and develop successful products. Benno Dorer, CEO and #1 Glassdoor 2017 U.S. Highest Rated CEO, said, “We love diversity and inclusion because it makes us better. It’s not just an HR initiative but it truly is a business initiative for us as we have a very diverse set of consumers. In order to be successful our employee base has to mirror that.

In the field of household products, there’s a very direct relationship between employees and customer needs. Dorer shared this story of how employees inspired a new product: “One example is our recent innovation in cleaning, Clorox Fraganzia. Innovation came straight out of Hispanic Employee Resource Group. They determined that certain fragrances are particularly appealing to the Latino consumer and they brought that idea to our home care business team who brought this innovation to market.”

Deloitte promotes diversity of thought

Deloitte CEO Cathy Engelbert has worked at the company for her whole professional career. As one of 8 females on our 2017 U.S. Large Companies Highest Rated CEOs list, she recognizes that her achievements have been assisted by Deloitte’s focus on diversity and inclusion. “We are very deliberate about fostering an inclusive culture at Deloitte,” she said. “My appointment as CEO was an outcome of that inclusive culture.” A true leader, she’s focused on carrying on that inclusivity to her team. “It’s also about our professionals feeling connected to their work environment, that they feel a sense of belonging and actually want to grow their careers here.”

As a company with nearly 80,000 U.S. employees whose primary asset is their knowledge and approach to problem-solving, Deloitte thinks of investing in its people as R&D. Last year the company introduced a concept of a “culture of courage,” to help empower people to do their best work every day. Engelbert explained, “It’s a concept that resonates with a multi-generational workforce. It’s about driving a culture of innovation that gives us the freedom to experiment, try new things, or take a different approach to solving a challenge. This promotes diversity of thought and perspective, and creates an atmosphere where we try to shift to where bold thinking is the norm, not the rarity or one-off.”

Diversity and inclusion ties back to the business

These examples demonstrate how diversity and inclusion are carried through to the business proposition at leading companies. At Hilton, diversity is a must in order for its hundreds of thousands of employees to satisfy its millions of customers. At Clorox, diversity helps its employees deliver innovative products that serve a diverse customer base. And at Deloitte, diversity and inclusion helps the company deliver innovative solutions to clients by keeping employees challenged to take new approaches and grow their careers within the company.

To learn more about how your company can build the business case for diversity and inclusion, create an inclusive culture through managing bias and building community, and recruiting for diversity, download our Guide to Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace today. We predict you’ll learn something new!

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