Posted: 2/24/20

The Case for Diversity Has Been Made. Let's Move Past It

October 22, 2019

People are unsatisfied with the changes being made towards diversity and inclusion.

That’s according to Kelly Grier, EY’s U.S. chairman and managing partner and Americas managing partner, who spoke during a panel at today’s Most Powerful Women Summit in D.C.

“Let’s stop admiring the problem,” says Grier. “The data is overwhelmingly compelling. This is not a new discovery that [diversity and inclusion] produces differentiated outcomes.”

Diversity champions like her discussed how to move beyond simply making the case for diversity, towards effective action.

Moving forward, there needs to be a shift, says Carla Harris, vice chairman and managing director at Morgan Stanley, to have real impact: in intentionality, accountability, and sustainability.

When it comes to diversity and inclusion initiatives, many industries—like the financial service industry, for instance—have approached them with a “bull market strategy.”

“When things are really great, lots of money, lots of focus, lots of spotlight” is placed into diversity and inclusion, said Harris. But a shift in the market and “the intensity goes from 10 to one, and that’s when you lose your pipeline.”

Here’s how some companies are keeping up the momentum on diversity and inclusion:

• At Salesforce, explains Ana Recio, executive vice president of global recruiting, “we’re really on a journey where we’re trying to move from equality to equity.” And that requires considerable awareness—and a focus on “belonging.” Creating that experience of “belonging” not only helps attract talent, but retain them.

• But, these efforts require making it “organic,” says Kathi Vidal, Managing Partner, Silicon Valley, Winston & Strawn. “We need to make sure that all of us are living and breathing this. That when we wake up in the morning we’re thinking about how to support and sponsor other people.” And that requires engaging everyone, at every level.

• And that’s why Intel created a “warmline”—an online channel—for employees to voice concerns, on any topic, and offer an opportunity for the company to address it, says Barbara Whye, chief diversity officer and vice president of human resources for that company’s Technology, Systems Architecture, and Client Group. A common issue for employees, she says, are a “manager-employee connection” that is “not happening as it should,” and a “lack of progression.”

• For Johnson & Johnson, says Wanda Bryant Hope, the company’s chief diversity and inclusion officer, there’s “an inclusion index” to address that disconnect. It offers an opportunity for employees to determine whether their direct managers are, in fact, “leading inclusively.”


Tamara El-Waylly

Ellen McGirt curated and wrote the blurbs in this edition of raceAhead.



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