Organizations depend on their diverse employees to grow their bottom line and achieve the aggressive goals needed to win in today’s global, fast-paced economy. They know the marketplace is full of a diverse group of customers, yet they do not always effectively utilize their diverse workforce members to create innovative, paradigm-shifting solutions.
This guide is designed to help you build your Diversity ROI Business Case to demonstrate value-added by aligning with key business goals and objectives:
- Market Share Improvement
- Improving Global Leadership and Management Capability
- Lowering Costs and Increasing Productivity
- Developing New Revenue Sources
Why should you concern yourself with effective Diversity ROI Measurement and Management? In the past, many managers answered this question out of a sense of the “right thing to do” or because they were seeing more and more people who didn’t look like them in the workforce, or merely felt they had to meet the organization’s requirement for working with diverse groups. However, today’s managers know that without effective diversity management capability, organizational effectiveness is in jeopardy. Being effective at managing a diverse workforce for example, helps to lift morale, improve processes, bring access to new segments of the marketplace and enhance productivity of the organization. In essence, it is good for business.
In profit-making organizations, maximizing the difference between revenues and costs optimizes performance. This same goal exists in many non-profit organizations, except that the result is called surplus instead of profits. The question therefore is: “How are workforce Diversity and its management related to revenues, costs, or both?” To answer this question we can explore several concepts and strategies that illustrate the impact of diversity on business performance. These concepts and strategies include items such as marketing strategies, problem-solving strategies, creativity and innovation that can be viewed as important factors in revenue generation.
Marketing Strategies and Market Share Improvement
We live in an increasing global world that is diverse. Whether your business includes marketing financial services, computers, telecommunications products, social services, health care equipment, manufacturing processes, engineering expertise, and the like, expertise in addressing a diverse customer market (Business-Consumer Archetype) will be essential to your success. For example, an automobile manufacturer in Japan cannot afford to ignore the fact that nearly half of all new car buyers in the United States are women. This is true regardless of the gender make up of car buyers in Japan. Likewise, no reasonable person in the consumer-goods industry can afford to ignore the fact that roughly a quarter of the world’s population is Chinese and immigration to the United States from mostly Asian and Latin American countries is occurring at a rate of more than a million people per year.
We know that in the United States, Asians, African-Americans, and Hispanics combined now collectively represent over a $Trillion dollars annually in consumer spending. The Selig Center for Economic Growth (from the University of Georgia Terry School of Management) estimates and projections of buying power for minorities—African Americans, Asians, Native Americans, and Hispanics—definitely share in driving business success, and together wield formidable economic clout. As these groups increase in number and purchasing power, their growing shares of the U.S. consumer market draw avid attention from producers, retailers, and service providers alike.
The buying power data presented here and differences in spending by race and/or ethnicity suggest that one general advertisement, product, or service geared for all consumers increasingly miss many potentially profitable market opportunities. As the U.S. consumer market becomes more diverse, advertising, products, and media must be tailored to each market segment. With this in mind, new entrepreneurs, established businesses, marketing specialists, economic development organizations, and chambers of commerce now seek estimates of the buying power of the nation’s major racial and ethnic minority groups.
In a Business-Consumer Archetype (B to C), your diversity measurement strategies and analytics must be “Relationship/Brand Focused”. They must measure your organization’s ability to build customer intimacy knowledge and “use it” in measurable ways to generate outcome-based results that add revenue and other value to the bottom-line. Sample Diversity measurement strategies must focus on areas such as: Cultural Competence, Market Share, Brand, Relationship/Service-based outcomes, etc.
Sample metrics may include:
- % Market Share
- $ Share of Wallet by Demographic Group
- #/% Diversity Competent Leaders/Managers by Demographic Group
- #/% New Products generated by Demographic Group and for Demographic Groups
- Improvement in Average Speed of Problem Resolution using Diverse Work Team Suggestions
- % Favorable Response on Diverse Customer Satisfaction Surveys
In a Business-Business Archetype (B to B) on the other hand, your Diversity Measurement strategies and Diversity Analytics must be “Relationship/Product/Process Focused”. Sample Diversity measurement strategies must focus on areas such as: Innovation, Creativity, Process Improvement, Relationship/Service-based outcomes, etc.
Sample metrics may include:
- Consultative Selling-Culture/Style Match
- Customer Relations Effectiveness using Diverse Workforce Suggestions
- Creativity (Competitive Edge Generation) – # Patents Generated by Demographic Group
- Innovation (Diverse Work Team)
- Cycle-time Reduction – Process speed to market
- Solution Set Match-to-Problem (Improvements generated by diverse team)
- Cost Reduction (strategic Diversity)
Research to prove the value of Diversity and Inclusion must clearly demonstrate a “causal chain of impact” working through seven levels of analysis as well as isolate Diversity and Inclusion’s contribution from other possible contributors. These processes and sciences are embedded in in the Hubbard Diversity ROI Methodology and the Diversity High Impact Mapping process.
Improving Global Leadership and Management Capability
If an organization plans to sell or deliver goods and services in a diverse marketplace, it must be fully capable of effectively utilizing its diverse workforce in key strategic ways. For instance, it is important from a public relations point of view to be viewed as a company that is known for managing and utilizing its diverse workforce assets well. There are a number of well-publicized ratings for “The Best Company for Working Women and Working Mothers”, “The Most Admired Company” and the “The Top 50 Companies for Women and Minorities”. This fuels a public relations climate where workforce talent and consumers make choices about the organizations they would work for and buy from. This line of thinking is also supported by a study of stock price responses to publicity that changed either positively or negatively on an organization’s ability to manage diversity. Many studies have found that announcements of awards for exemplary efforts resulted in significant positive changes in stock prices while announcements of discrimination suits resulted in significant negative changes in stock prices.
In addition, organizations can gain a lot from the insights of its diverse workforce to understand the cultural effects of buying decisions and mapping strategies to respond to them. Depending on the product or service delivered by the organization, many employees may also represent part of the firm’s customer base! A good reputation inside the organization can help product and service sales outside the organization. Another key marketing strategy includes tapping employee network or resource groups. They can be an excellent resource for focus groups, feedback and ideas for honing the organization’s reach into diverse marketplace opportunities.
Lowering Costs and Increasing Productivity
Revenue increases can also show up due to improvements in diverse work team problem solving and decision-making. Diverse work teams have a broader and richer base of experience to draw on in solving organizations problems and issues. The presence of minority views creates higher levels of critical analysis of assumptions and implications of decisions. In addition, it also generates an increase in the number of alternatives from which the group chooses. Problem solving benefits from diverse work groups do not happen by simply mixing people together who are culturally different. The improved outcomes heavily depend on a diversity-competent manager “utilizing” key diverse insights and experiences of the total group.
In one study, researchers found that properly managed and trained diverse work teams produced scores that were six times higher than homogeneous teams. Researchers also found that it is important how a diverse team uses its diversity. For example, those diverse teams that recognized and utilized their diversity had higher productivity. Even when the team was diverse, if that diversity is not used effectively, it can cause process problems that result in lower team productivity. The essential variable is a Leader’s or Manager’s ability to “effectively manage and utilize the team’s diversity”.
Developing New Revenue Sources
Creativity and innovation can be vital to an organization’s ability to perform. New product introductions, advertising, process re-engineering, quality improvements and the like are examples where these skills are required. Diverse work teams have also been found to promote improved creativity and innovation that generates revenue. In her book “The Change Masters”, Rosabeth Moss Kanter notes that highly innovative companies have done a better job of eradicating racism, sexism, and classism; tend to have workforces that are more race and gender diverse, and take deliberate steps to create heterogeneous work teams with the objective of bringing that diversity to bear on organizational problems and issues. Many organizations such as Pepsico for example, with the introduction of Guacamole Chips, and other innovations, created a plethora of new product SKUs generated by utilizing their diverse Employee Resource and Business Resource Groups.
As the buying power of diverse consumer segments including women, Hispanics, African Americans, and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community continues to grow, these segments represent a marketplace opportunity too big for retailers and consumer product manufacturers to ignore, according to “The Changing Consumer and the Workforce Imperative” Report. “This report focuses on how the retail and consumer products industry can unleash our multicultural workforces to achieve results that benefit our employees, our communities and our companies,” said Network Chair Michelle Gloeckler, senior vice president for merchandising execution at Walmart Stores. “Research for this project began at last year’s NEW Multicultural Workforce Conference and the results were previewed at this year’s conference in March. The Network believes that diversity and inclusion is critical to the future of our business.”
The report, based in part on one-on-one interviews with more than two-dozen leading U.S. consumer goods and retail executives, explores the correlation between workforce diversity and the ability of the consumer goods and retail industries to engage the changing U.S. consumer.
“Cultural connections are critical to understanding what drives purchasing decisions and brand loyalty across different market segments,” said Alison Paul, immediate past president of the Network of Executive Women, and vice chairman and U.S. retail sector leader, Deloitte LLP. “Making these connections rely on retailers’ and manufacturers’ ability to not only become more culturally aware-which are increasingly table stakes–but harness and value diverse perspectives as a source of innovation.”
Consumer insights most often come from those who share a consumer’s cultural experience, the report concludes. As such, recruiting, retaining and advancing a diverse workforce are integral to creating a brand/consumer connection, as consumers feel most comfortable doing business with companies whose employees mirror their communities.
According to the report, consumer product manufacturers and retailers may be able to achieve an inclusive culture by first understanding the bottom-line business opportunity, then making a commitment to diversity that touches all company departments. Top management should view workforce diversity not as a stand-alone program, but as an essential element for business survival. Achieving cultural competency involves leadership commitment and communication, employee accountability, strong talent recruiting and retention programs, progressive succession planning, diverse supplier relationships, and effective ROI measurement and analysis processes that capture impacts and results.
Appealing to a carefully segmented, diverse market is no longer only a niche opportunity for adventurous store managers and edgy entrepreneurs: Multiculturalism is fast becoming a retail and consumer goods industry opportunity too big to ignore. The same is true for “B to B” organizations as well. A diverse workforce serving a broadened customer base is a critical success factor because, as market research further demonstrates, a diverse workforce improves service outcomes and enhances financial performance regardless of the specific archetype.
Embracing Diversity as a way of thinking is the most effective response for business leaders and an important driver of an organization’s innovative engine. This means Diversity and Inclusion, and the archetypes that drive its constant performance, need to be brought to the forefront of your value proposition and ingrained in the organization’s cultural DNA. It must become a branded component of how you do business. When an authentic, inclusive culture is at work, a diverse workforce becomes capable of producing a broad range of original and engaging ideas that is simply not possible among homogenous employee populations. At the top of the organization, this can translate into more apt and financially rewarding decision-making.
The Diversity ROI Business Case highlighting the link between “Diversity and Inclusion Utilization” and Business Performance, not merely acquiring “Representation” alone, can be made by utilizing Diversity ROI processes and practices. From a Diversity ROI standpoint, Diversity measures and analytics must capture the outcomes and impact of these Diversity and business strategies in a way that demonstrates compelling evidence of Diversity’s contribution to the organization’s business objectives and results. By using tools such as the Diversity ROI 7-Level Chain-of-Impact, the Hubbard Diversity ROI Methodology, the Diversity High Impact Map, a ROI-based Diversity Scorecard, etc., a strong business Diversity ROI Business Case can be made in dollars and “sense” that clearly shows Diversity and Inclusion as “great for business”!
Dr. Hubbard is an expert in Organizational Behavior, Organizational Analysis, Applied Performance Improvement and Measurement Strategies, Strategic Planning, Diversity Measurement, and Organizational Change Methodologies. He holds a Practitioner Certification and Master Practitioner Certification in Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP), a Neuro-science discipline. Dr. Hubbard earned Bachelors and Masters Degrees from Ohio State University and earned a Ph.D. with Honors in Business Administration. Dr. Hubbard is available for Keynote Presentations, Executive Briefings, Workshops, etc. He can be reached at http://www.hubbardnhubbardinc.com/contact-us.html