In 2020, the news of George Floyd acted as a catalyst for change across corporate diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) efforts. Organizations were rethinking the way they ensured a diverse workforce, reflected by the 55% increase in DE&I-related jobs that occurred during the summer of 2020. But the rise of DE&I in the workforce is more than a trend—it should be a core part of how firms operate, one that’s backed by a strategic plan.
Forbes contributor, Serenity Gibbons, recently sat down with Credera’s Chief Diversity Officer, Nickoria Johnson to discuss how companies can develop a deeper understanding of DE&I and create lasting initiatives in response.
The Rise of Corporate DE&I Initiatives
Johnson states that since the news of George Floyd broke, “Many companies ‘woke up’ and recognized how important it is to better support and understand the plight of and uplift Black and Brown communities.” There was a clear push for organizations to better support and advocate for historically underrepresented communities, meaning firms needed to make impactful change by investing more resources, finances, and people to create more diverse and inclusive workplaces.
Building a Diverse Workforce
The “Great Resignation” has given younger GenZ and millennial workers a greater voice. As a result, these voices have created a call to action for companies, one driven by transparency and freedom for employees to be their genuine selves at work. Part of this has pushed organizations to build meaningful DE&I efforts and appoint leadership genuinely invested in inclusivity.
Having diverse voices making leadership decisions helps affirm a firm’s investment in DE&I initiatives, while also boosting deep thinking and innovation. Job-seekers are drawn in by diverse, representative workforces, with 75% of job applicants reporting a diverse workforce is a deciding factor in accepting a job, a number even higher among historically underrepresented groups.
Creating a DE&I-Focused Brand
By viewing DE&I through a compliance lens, even the most well-meaning companies can fail to realize they have a DE&I issue. DE&I must be more than the enforcement of bureaucratic rules and regulations—it needs to be core to a firm’s brand.
For Johnson, taking on the role of Credera’s Chief Diversity Officer meant “not limiting [Credera] to surface-level programming and tokenism.” It meant establishing a clear framework that ensures DE&I is woven into the fabric of Credera and center to all of our investments, priorities, and work efforts. Above all else, she knows that focusing on DE&I as an organization is “good for our people and the right thing to do.”
Clients also look to DE&I commitments, requesting diverse supplier spend and even requesting teams with a certain level of diversity. These asks hold companies accountable and further prove DE&I is a driving force in the way organizations represent themselves and conduct business.
Read the full conversation between Gibbons and Johnson here.
The Future of DE&I
Although corporate DE&I has plenty of room for growth, the changes and initiatives being implemented can create significant change and reshape the future. Hiring, promoting, and creating a diverse and inclusive workforce has proven to be successful for organizations and the individuals working for them.