UNC Wilmington recently hosted an all-day conference called Diversity: A Competitive Advantage to talk about the impact of inclusion in businesses. Panelists who explored The Business Case for Diversity say that hiring diverse workers isn’t enough if there’s not inclusion as well.
Diversity means there are many people with varied backgrounds within an organization, but inclusion means that those differences are embraced. That’s according to Brian Richards, coordinator for the Carolinas Diversity Council. When Richards meets with a company that might become a corporate partner, he says that he’ll often point out that their senior leadership doesn’t have people of color, women or members of other countries.
“And usually, they kind of have some sort of a general way of saying, so we need to hire a person of color. Well, okay that’s reactionary. Just because you hire someone doesn’t mean that you’re getting all that you can out of them.”
In North Carolina, Richards says that there are several companies that have inclusion plans for their organization that include hiring, trainings, affinity groups and community engagement. According to Richards, these efforts can help innovation, productivity and customer image.