Reactions to Diversity
Our series on diversity in the corrugated industry piqued a lot of interest, and we’re excited to have initiated such an important discussion. The majority of our responses were in support of this effort to pull back the shutters on an often-overlooked issue, but we got a few negative responses, too.
Incidentally, we found both types of responses validated our reason for bringing up such a sensitive topic. The praise only encouraged us that, regardless of age, gender, or race, we’re not the only ones in this industry who notice a trend. The criticism simply suggests that the topic is so under-discussed that it actually made some readers uncomfortable. Either way, we hope that we’ve created a sense of awareness, which is the first step towards a more diverse, more valuable workplace.
Why is Diversity so Valuable?
Two reasons: it’s the right thing to do morally, and it’s the right thing to do professionally.
Moral development is a set of phases that shapes our decision-making. The most morally developed individuals are those that make decisions not based on potential punishments or society’s expectations, but on principles of right and wrong. Oftentimes, in the case of diversity, individuals know the right and wrong, yet they act based on more basic principles. So the question isn’t what is morally right, but how can we act morally right?
Add that idea to the fact that diversity just makes good business sense. Diversity means variety, which fuels insight and innovation. It can also lead to cost savings, lower employee turnover, increased influx of talent and boosts in business growth in the form of higher stock market performance.
According to a study by the Society for Human Resource Management, 78% of respondents reported savings in lawsuits and litigation fees due to diversity efforts. A similar survey found that diversity implementation is driven by management’s interest in tapping into diverse markets and audiences. In fact, the most innovative problem-solvers are often teams of diverse individuals who utilize an array of cultural, background and demographic norms.
But this approach isn’t necessarily results-oriented; it’s actually resource-oriented. Rather than feel completely focused on the output, innovative managers see diversity as talent utilization, which makes a more effective, efficient business. It also furthers the organization’s ability to attract an even more valuable talent pool.
Businesses recognized in Fortune Magazine’s fifty best companies for minorities are often the most sought-after once they’ve been recognized.
Putting it All Together
Looking back at the combination of output and feedback from this series, it’s apparent to us that diversity is lacking in the corrugated industry. Since the first step in any change is awareness, we believe the second step is conversation, and open discussions about ways we can break the habit. Change is never an easy thing, but it’s most certainly necessary.