The first four R’s – recruitment, retention, representation, and reputation – are the traditional aspects of diversity management. Just about every organization is working on these, either singularly or collectively.
On their own, none of these R’s get you the outcome that you’re finally looking for. That’s why Deliberate DiversityTM promotes what I call the fifth R – results. To better your business through diversity, your diversity management has to be intent on tangible business results.
The First Four R’s
I’m not saying the first four R’s are useless. Each one of these R’s plays an important role in diversity management.
- Recruitment: If you’re doing recruitment well, you’re doing it so that diverse people come in, they fit with the company culture, and they bring new points of view. Good recruitment practices are the only way to bring diverse perspectives to your organization.
- Retention: If you have mentoring programs in place, you retain the best and brightest talent. You can’t utilize diverse perspectives for better business results if you can’t retain the people who bring those perspectives.
- Representation: Representation does one good thing: it makes diverse perspectives available to you. When your company profile matches the markets that you’re in, you have more diversity by necessity.
- Reputation: There’s nothing wrong with an organization managing their goodwill. Goodwill has real value – there’s a dollar figure attached to it. Reputation has a lot to do with the amount of sales your company makes.
Do You Understand Your Diversity Strengths?
Companies who simply accept diversity as a fact of life and develop strategies for utilizing it, experience significant organizational growth.
If you’re well-regarded by the marketplace, people will trust you enough to buy your product or use your service. Coca-Cola has about a 3 billion dollar goodwill on their balance sheet – that’s great for their profit margins.
The thing is, even if you have the first four R’s in place, the work is not complete. You have to learn to manage these R’s to get better business results. So the first four R’s aren’t useless – they’re incomplete. You have to practically apply them.
Results at the Micro Level
The fifth R does not have to mean results at the macro level. You don’t have to overhaul your company to see results from diversity management.
In fact, the fifth R works best when it’s applied to local operations. For example: a team of 12 uses Deliberate DiversityTM to improve their part of the process. Another team downstream uses it to improve their decision making and speed up their process. A third team uses it to come up with an innovative way of packaging the entire process. It’s at these micro levels that we really see the results of Deliberate DiversityTM.
What do Better Results Look Like?
Better business results are not the soft stuff that we talk about all the time – not the percentage of people of color on our team; not how much the CEO supports diversity. We’re talking about things like improvements in business, performance, and productivity. We’re talking about creativity and innovation, improved cycle times, reduction in defects, more sales closed. These types of powerful measures can only come about as a result of a disciplined approach to diversity management. That’s what Deliberate DiversityTM offers: a practical, results-oriented way to manage diverse perspectives for the betterment of the organization.