November 15, 2022 – Having a culture that supports DEI programs is integral to successful teams and better business performance, says a new report from Hanold Associates HR & Diversity Executive. We sat down with Val Lopez and Pamela Culpepper, who are key leaders in the firm’s DEI efforts, to discuss diversity and inclusion. Here is an excerpt.
Diversity and inclusion (D&I) programs have been vital to smart companies that want to attract and retain the best talent. However, it’s the lack of such efforts at some organizations that have been making headlines lately in the business press, according to a recent report from Hanold Associates HR & Diversity Executive.
D&I programs are largely ineffective without a culture that drives and supports them. Hanold Associates has been watching business after business come under fire for mistakes that highlight a lack of understanding, sensitivity, or strong ethics. Consider, for example, some of the recent media coverage about Uber and its culture-related issues.
Inspire and Motivating Innovation and Creativity
“Aside from just being the right thing to do, having a company culture that’s accepting, supportive, diverse, and inclusive results in better business performance,” the Hanold Associates report said. “Diverse teams inspire and motivate innovation and creativity. This in turn helps organizations attract, engage, and inspire the best talent. To drive these programs, organizations need strong leaders to ensure the company culture supports D&I goals day in and day out.”
When hiring heads of D&I, Hanold Associates notes that they expect these individuals to have the traits of most other key HR and operational executives: strong business acumen, grit, willingness to be vulnerable, effective communication skills, and so on. According to Hanold Associates, the most distinctive D&I leaders have the wherewithal and the energy to lead programs that make a noticeable impact. They’re excited and that passion is infectious to others in the organization.
“Few are career-long D&I practitioners but have led other aspects of the business driving transformation and change,” the report said. “This gives them a deeper understanding of how to build programs that will connect with employees across the business.”
Hanold Associates also says that these leaders are always learning. “They are voracious readers outside of work and fuse their vocation with avocation, becoming smarter in the space,” the report said. “The workplace and the world continue to change rapidly. D&I leaders must be at the forefront, making sure their organization stays up to par with a culture that supports its vision and mission.”
Top D&I leaders are also strong relationship people. “They have exceptional influencing capabilities, enabling them to inspire others,” the report said. “They know that company culture doesn’t exist in a vacuum and use their influence to make a positive impact.”