Valuing Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace
Valuing Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace
We know diversity and inclusion (D&I) matter. But how do they create value? That’s the question at the heart of an increasing body of research to understand the business case for diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
A 2015 report from McKinsey and Company – Diversity Matters – answers the question this way: “Diversity is probably a competitive differentiator that shifts market share toward more diverse companies over time.” One reasons for this, the report suggests, is that we live in a globally connected world in which both multinational corporations and small businesses with an internet connection have access to markets at home and abroad. To thrive in such an environment, companies must not only cultivate a workplace that attracts the best and brightest but also ensure that their people intimately understand the needs of their customers.
“Food is my area of passion and I am fortunate to be working in this industry,” says Dr. Angela Naef, DuPont Nutrition & Health Global Technology & Innovation Leader. “Working in the food industry is incredibly local and deeply personal. I believe that science is global and in order to innovate in an effective way to serve our customers, we have to understand diversity - yogurt in the U.S. is different than yogurt in Europe is different than yogurt in India (or, ‘dahi’). If we don’t have the diversity of thought and experience in our own teams to truly understand that local personal connection to food, we will not develop the solutions that can make a difference. At the end of the day, a commitment to D&I makes you more competitive, better able to know who you are innovating for and why – that translates to differentiation in the marketplace. I also believe that it makes for a very enjoyable and exciting job!”
DuPont - recently recognized as one of DiverstyInc’s "25 Noteworthy Companies for Diversity", by the National Association of Female Executives as one of the “Top Companies for Executive Women”, and with a 100% score on the 2016 Disability Equality Index - understands the value of a diverse and inclusive workplace and works hard to incorporate it in every aspect of its business, including its talent development and recruitment, customer orientation, corporate strategy, and even its innovation processes.
“D&I drives innovation,” says Priscila Vansetti, President of DuPont Brazil, Business Director of DuPont Crop Protection Latin America and a member of the company’s Global D&I Leadership Council. “You need different points of view in every discussion and you want people to bring their unique perspectives to the table. There is so much diversity in our customer base that we risk falling out of alignment with their needs if we don’t actively foster a diverse and inclusive environment for our people. That means engaged leadership, mentorship opportunities, challenging development assignments, constant communication, and commitment – especially in a rapidly changing business environment – to ensure that we are always finding new ways to open doors for our people.”
“A diverse and inclusive workplace doesn’t just happen overnight,” adds Julie Eaton, Global Business Director for DuPont’s Kevlar® segment. “It takes understanding at the top and committed investment to the programs and development vehicles that can foster diversity and inclusion and help unlock its value. It’s also somewhat dynamic. Current leaders must understand that different generations and those just entering the job market may have different perspectives. The young employees I see today want to be part of the team, part of something bigger. They also aren’t afraid to actively seek out mentors.”
The changes global companies like DuPont are experiencing first hand are also reflected in research on the matter. A 2015 study by Deloitte University, The Radical Transformation of Diversity and Inclusion: The Millennial Influence, notes that millennials intuitively understand concepts like ‘cognitive diversity’ in a way that previous generations may not. That global connectivity that digital natives grew up with lends itself to a recognition that more familiar concepts of diversity such as gender and ethnic diversity, as well as sexual orientation, help inform a person’ thought and problem-solving processes --- that is, their cognitive diversity. It also means that companies positioning themselves for the long-term must be willing to adapt and constantly challenge themselves to find new and innovative ways to keep D&I a priority within their organization.
“Diverse and inclusive practices fuel innovation and productivity leading to business growth,” says Benito Cachinero- Sánchez, DuPont Senior Vice President of Human Resources, “The role of my organization is to support leaders in integrating diversity and inclusion practices into existing business processes and programs rather than as an afterthought. DuPont strives to achieve this via multiple channels. We have a Global D&I Leadership Council made up of senior leaders (doing other important roles in the company) who can reinforce D&I at the strategic level across our organizations. In addition, we develop education for employees and leaders, and regularly communicate our commitment to D&I through employee stories and examples. We set goals and objectives and monitor our progress. But, just like our R&D teams, we’re always looking for new ways to innovate --- better ways to understand our people and enabling them to flourish.”
To learn more about DuPont’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, please visit: http://www.dupont.com/corporate-functions/careers/why-dupont/articles/diversity.html