Good for society (and for CSR)
Even as a tough economic approach, D&I generates positive effects for society. Above all, because it not only recognizes the value of diverse social groups but makes them a valuable resource – and an advantage for everyone.
When thinking of D&I, many get stuck with compliance with legal requirements and some think of social responsibility. Both hold associations to disadvantaged groups and this can additionally obscure the view of the mostly unused potentials. Compare for yourself the effects of different reasons or drives for D&I.
How strong the message and meaning changes with perspective
Let’s compare legal, social and business reasons for D&I.
- If we do D&I because we are legally required to – we will do as much as we have to. Full stop.
- If we do D&I because it’s a corporate responsibility – we will do as much as we can afford, and we will feel good.
- If we do D&I because it drives innovation, propels market penetration and multiplies engagement – we will continue and we will not stop, for the sky is the limit.
If you now think of a combination, please also consider that one (main) message will stick – and it’s your audience who decides which one that is, not you as a strategist.
Why D&I should be separated from CSR as an economic added value
Morale, ethics and responsibility – these paradigms are great partners for D&I but they are limited AND they set an unfortunate tone about so-called subordinate groups. The reasons why some groups are disadvantaged or underprivileged have nothing to do with the members of the groups but with the dominating mainstream systems. Nevertheless, D&I support programmes continue to convey messages about deficits and areas of development. Instead, D&I should focus on the potential of differences and the power of inclusion. And we should show how much of this is often wasted – and ask why companies can still afford this (waste).
Utilising economic value for social purpose
My experience very clearly shows that D&I receives the attention it deserves when we present it as a positive paradigm only. The Propelling Performance Principle serves as an example for doing this successfully. Once a robust change agenda is set, based on a clear business case, it will be easy for your organisation to identify overlaps and design D&I-related programmes that serve a social purpose. This is when different elements connect effectively and come together strongly. ENGINEERING D&I.
HOW D&I CAN HELP TO INTEGRATE SOCIETIES AND ADDRESS POPULISM, SEXISM AND NATIONALISM (PART 1 OF THE MUMBAI TRILOGY BY MICHAEL STUBER)
Further thoughts regarding the societal value of Diversity in the textbook
„Diversity & Inclusion“