Author Terry J. Soto has a theory about diversity and why it can be a “win-win” for organizations.
Soto heads About Marketing Solutions, Inc., a consulting firm in Burbank, California, and is author of Marketing to Hispanics: A Strategic Approach to Assessing and Planning Your Initiative and co-author of Grow With America – Best Practices in Ethnic Marketing and Merchandising.She wrote in the Huffington Post that organizations will be wise to approach diversity, including supplier diversity, as a growth strategy. Given the nation’s changing demographics, Soto wrote that having a diverse workforce allows successful organizations to think like their diverse customers, rather than just think about them.
The U.S. Census Bureau reports that the U.S. minority population is expected to reach 56 percent of the expected total population of 417 million in 2060, increasing from 38 percent of the total population in 2014. Those numbers are supported by another Census Bureau finding that around the time of the 2020 Census, more than half of the nation’s children are expected to be part of a minority race or ethnic group.
What Soto is talking about is alignment—synching organizational goals to adjust to demographic changes in order to ensure a company’s brands are diverse and relevant in the future. She says she is also hearing similar sentiments from her own clients.
“My clients are also quick to recognize that the more employees they hire with the same cultural and historical background as their customers, the better they understand them and know how to service them better,” Soto says.
Soto included these steps in her article as guideposts for aligning with diversity:
- Ensure leadership commitment. Soto says that chief executives of successful organizations dedicate quality time on a regular basis to discuss diversity and the progress the company is making.
- Ensure that the organization’s vision and core values are consistent with creating a culture of diversity. Soto says successful organizations are able to sensitize their workforces to cultural nuances and diverse consumer and employee needs.
- Establish business goals for the human resources and diversity management leaders and develop strategies for achieving them. Soto advises that organizations monitor, measure, track and adjust, and strengthen the goals as needed.
Soto says it has been her experience that most organizations are well-intentioned in seeking to drive diversity as a strategic initiative, but often they struggle to make meaningful progress.
She says making a shift in organizational culture is never easy, but it can be done. Virtually all major industries and organizations understand that diversity must be an imperative. A report from the Nieman Foundation, which supports journalists, for instance, explains principles of diversity and their importance to America’s newsrooms.
“We’re all accustomed and comfortable with the face of our organizations as it is.” Soto says, “However, in today’s ever more diverse consumer environment, making steady shifts in favor of diversity will optimize our companies’ desirability among consumers, which always bodes well for staying competitive and, ultimately, growing our organizations’ bottom line.”