The retail industry is built around diverse products, services, cultures, and customers as we look for ways to meet the complex needs of a world that is expanding and shrinking at the same time. And as workforce demographics continue to evolve, investing in diversity and inclusion is now widely accepted as an important aspect of our talent management practices. We have recognized that diversity and inclusion in the workplace are becoming more of a business necessity as the industry grows, global markets emerge, and companies become more interactive with different cultures and customers.
But are we doing enough? Have we taken the necessary steps to make this one of the building blocks of our talent management efforts? Is there something more that we should be doing?
This week’s LP Magazine Instant Poll Question asked: Do you feel that your company and your department are doing enough to encourage diversity and inclusion in the workplace?
Looking at our poll results at first glance, it would appear that our respondents believe that our companies are across the board in managing their diversity and inclusion practices. More than a third of respondents feel that their company and their department are doing a good job of managing diversity and inclusion, while others believe that their organizations are not doing nearly enough. However, there are also indications of a more consistent response.
Our results indicate that the overwhelming majority of you (approximately 90 percent of respondents) feel that the subject has merit and is important, yet more than half (approximately 56 percent) believe that there is more that we should be doing to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace. This only further underscores the need to modify our way of thinking in order to deal effectively with the issues of communication, tolerance, adaptability, variety and change. Whether the answers come through programs, policies, or attitude adjustments, there is still room for improvement. But rather than simply serving as an opinion, it needs to serve as a reminder.
We have come to recognize the value of an employee population that respects and embraces our human differences. This does not imply that talent and experience should be overlooked in any way. It merely emphasizes the genuine value that is found when minds are opened, blinders are removed, and different perspectives are introduced. “Qualified” then becomes a relative—and stronger—term, not simply bound by the limits of a job application or preconceived standards but rather by the limits we place on ourselves as leaders and as individuals.
By learning to better understand each other we recognize the unique contributions that all of us can make when we work together. It gives us greater resilience, and capitalizes on our strengths. This creates a positive and nurturing work environment that maximizes the potential of all employees. Your voice is important. It truly can help make a difference in our industry, and will influence change. We encourage you to get involved.