C-Suite
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C-Suite

Diversity works; Why boosting diversity efforts is good for business

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As of 2021, there were only four African Americans on the list of Fortune 500 CEOs. Four. And only one of those was a black female.

Minorities, it’s clear, are still woefully underrepresented in the C-Suite. And while there are many arguments as to why that may be, the fact remains that race is still a barrier in a lot of ways to reaching the top of the corporate ladder.

The Black Lives Matter movement of 2020 shone a light on the not-so-hidden racism that still exists in America. And one positive result of that movement was an increasing push for more diversity and inclusion in leadership positions in business, politics, academia, and public service.

As a consequence, many corporations set goals to increase minorities in leadership over the next several years.

However, a diverse and inclusive workplace results from more than just short-term goals. A commitment to long-term inclusivity requires years of recruitment, support, and retention efforts.

Eric Ellis, President and CEO of Integrity Development Corporation, an Ohio-based inclusivity-training firm, who recently spoke at a diversity summit in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania, said that the constant state of being more inclusive of people of color, LGBTQ persons, women, and minorities, is a necessity in today’s business world.

It’s the right thing to do, he said, and makes good business sense, as our diverse population is more likely to support businesses that understand and support all our colors.

Ellis advised employers to take the time needed to strengthen their inclusion efforts.

To make effective changes, he said, employers must address unconscious bias. Unconscious bias can be explained as our thoughts that operate outside of our conscious awareness or outside of our stated beliefs.

For example, we may say out loud and even believe that we don’t have a problem with anyone, regardless of their skin color, but our actions may say something different.

Businesses tend to hire a homogeneous staff because people like to work with people who are like them, experts like Ellis said.

But working with people who are like you should be about shared values, more than race, gender, or age.

So diversity experts advise that corporations make a space at the table for all. Bring in a diversity consulting firm that can partner and be a resource to top-level leadership.

Over time, diversity will become a part of the company culture. Changing mindsets and habits takes time and commitment.

And diversity needs top-down support from the C-Suite. Efforts must be put into hiring diverse leadership and then retaining those employees.

Because in today’s marketplace, consumers and clients demand diversity of businesses. Non-inclusive brands risk backlash and consumer boycotts if they fail to make diversity a priority moving forward.

All told, efforts to be inclusive and increase diversity in the C-Suites, advertising, and hiring practices of corporate America benefit both consumers and businesses.

Therefore the decision to boost those efforts by company leadership should be an easy one.

“It is never too late to give up your prejudices,” celebrated author Henry David Thoreau once said. And almost one hundred and fifty years later, we can still take a lesson from those words, both in business and at home.

About the Author

Diana Klurfeld has been in the health care industry for well over decade in NYC. She and her husband, Alex Klurfeld, are calling attention to its shortcomings. During her time in the healthcare industry, Diana and Alex have had the opportunity to work alongside of some of the best health care administrators and doctors in the country.

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