OUTCOAST Business Tips: The Case for Diversity

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The world is abuzz with the term “Diversity”. The state of being diverse is a broad concept; including people places and things. We use the term as if mentioning it in the context of any conversation makes us smarter; more worldly, wiser.

In terms of people, the word “Diversity” has been kicked around before it was kicked down the road for the next person to either pick it up or kick it further down.

Let’s try to make this process a little simpler. In terms of people, how do we measure Diversity? What are the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) against which actual Diversity is measured?

Understanding what we want to define is the first step to determining objective measurements against which to compare progress.

Gathering baseline information is the second step. What does Diversity really mean? How do we know we’re diverse? Where is the threshold, the milepost, the checkered flag, the goal, the objective? How can we ensure we are accomplishing laudable goals?

Are KPIs based upon population norms? Are they based on diversity of the customer base? Is attempting to measure Diversity worthwhile? If so, why? These are weighty questions.

Diversity is important and potentially critical. Why ‘potentially’? Because of the reality of its nature as a moving target. Diversity is fluid; ebbing and flowing.

In order for Diversity to move from goal to reality, it requires acute evaluation of the environment, ecosystem, areas of focus, into which we desire Diversity to take root and flourish.

If the target is workforce, instituting changes in various practices including, but not limited to: attracting/hiring, promoting, training, nurturing, retaining, disciplining and discharging are the primary areas.

Being on the wrong side of Diversity can fuel thoughts of discrimination. Measuring Diversity is longitudinal. Do the markers change as times change?

Diversity requires connectivity between all levels of the organization. Decision-makers must not only support but must also be consistent advocates for Diversity. Every gain achieved through Diversity must be captured and retained. Success requires foundations, solid foundations.

The effort invested in executing the strategy should be matched by the effort to retain each gain; use the knowledge gained from each success and each failure to ensure failures are minimized and gains are maximized.

Diversity isn’t only about achieving hiring goals and targeted employee mix. Diversity includes retaining, nurturing, coaching and mentoring talent. This requires building connective tissue between mentors and mentees. Mentorship requires career paths that are objective; buy-in by the mentors, monitoring of progress as gauged by follow-up with mentees.

When diversity permeates every aspect of an organization, employees, prospective employees, customers, prospective customers, suppliers, investors, etc. will recognize the depth and breadth of the organization’s progressive nature, establishing and perpetuating enduring relationships.

To learn more about implementing and measuring Diversity in the workforce, e-mail Nikki DiCaro.

Written by Nikki DiCaro

Nikki DiCaro is Founder and CEO of DiCaro Consulting, a diversity and inclusion consulting firm. Her firm inspires unconditional equality, diversity and inclusion through client-focused training, education and employee engagement to companies large and small. Nikki discovered her talent and passion for equality, diversity and inclusion after she successfully completed gender transition utilizing a well-developed and thoughtfully executed plan. She is an active coach and supporter of all communities including providing guidance and direction to the transgender, employer, educator, parents and caring significant others to promote understanding and acceptance.

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