Diversity and Inclusion Improve Bold Businesses – Interview with Yaël Eisenstat and Suri Surinder

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Businesses across the world know from their everyday experiences that better business performance and more innovation stem from diversity and inclusion. They also open opportunities for everyone and lead better access to talent. But how does a business implement this strategy, and why? Bold Business recently sat down with Suri Surinder, the founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of CTR Factor, and Yaël Eisenstat, a former CIA officer, founder of Kilele Global, and current Head of Facebook’s Business Integrity’s Global Elections Integrity Ops team to learn how the best businesses are implementing it.

Diversity and Inclusion Improve Bold Businesses

A Forbes study revealed that 85% of executives today believe the importance of diversity in the modern workplace, especially its importance in fostering innovation. Inclusion and diversity help employees feel they belong – an important factor in performance and motivation at work.

Suri Surinder asks, “How do you make sure that their voices are heard and they feel included in the process of decision-making around the firm?” He affirmed by saying, “The truly bold companies are focused on that.”

Yael Eisenstat also believes in the importance of inclusion. “The bigger issue in my mind is the inclusion question,” she told Bold Business. “Who is sitting at your table actually participating in these conversations around some of these big decisions?”

“Having a perspective from someone in a different community from you,” Yaël Eisenstat pointed out. “That’ll let you know your client base in different ways, but you will also understand your risks differently.”  

“Diversity in the top 25 people of the firm drive inclusive behaviors in the entire firm,” said Surinder. “And there’s data that support the same thing in the talent innovation. 75% better chance of product innovation if you have 2D diversity within the company.”

McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm, found that businesses with inclusive, diverse workplaces tend to perform significantly better, as inclusion helps companies in many different ways. Talent becomes abundant, customer orientation strengthens, employee satisfaction skyrockets, and the decision-making process improves. With such great benefits, these lead to an overall enhanced company image and impressive financial performance.

Yaël Eisenstat and Suri Surinder Discuss Workplace Impacts of Diversity and Inclusion

While it cannot be denied that we have a long way to go in making the workplace a fully diverse and culturally inclusive environment, many companies have created bold action in involving women and minorities in decision-making. However, a report by McKinsey revealed that despite that, women remain unrepresented at every level within corporate America. They also divulged that men still have a 30% higher chance of promotion than women do during their careers’ early stages.

“I can say, in the national security world – this is where I started. When I was overseas. If I as a woman had not actually been in a leadership role on our counter-extremism programs, nobody would have been accessing the women in these communities,” Yaël Eisenstat said.

The former CIA analyst emphasized, “By not accessing the women in these communities, we would never have succeeded in some of the things that actually we did accomplish overseas.”

Intel, one of the world’s leading computer chip makers, is proactively addressing diversity and inclusion. Silicon Valley is notorious for having diversity issues, but Intel recently revealed in their 2017 Mid-Year Diversity Report that 25.5% of their employees are women, beating company records. Their Vice President (VP) of Human Resources, Rosalind Hudnell, said this record-breaking boost in diversity helped boost productivity as well. “When you can move people to contribute to their fullest, it has a tremendous impact,” she said.

Bold, innovative companies should focus on all aspects of inclusiveness. Yaël Eisenstat believes such a wide perspective is how companies really succeed. Through various methods including the type of diversity and awareness training that CTR Factor offers, employees, become more educated on the proper ways of treating people regardless of their different backgrounds. These make the workplace more inclusive and open and help employees improve their interpretation of cross-cultural differences, further improving communication and creating a more cohesive work environment.

Creating Diverse Workforces

Businesses today are becoming more diverse in recruiting. Sibyl Edwards, the Chief Creative Officer at wetogethr, observed that tech companies have issues with diversity because often they focus on hiring because of certain schools with good reputations. “Only hiring from Stanford means you are missing out on great talent from other schools,” she explained.

A more diverse company, consisting of minds from different backgrounds and mindsets, creates a variety of bold ideas and innovative thoughts. Compared to a less diverse company, these people tend to collaborate more, are more open to new concepts, and are able to welcome change and brave actions.

It is not just recruitment as well – keeping these employees around often become quite a challenge for corporate America. A company that welcomes diversity should know how to create an environment that not only claims to be inclusive. They should be able to let employees feel well represented and valued. In such situations, not only are different cultures promoted – but the work environment also promotes awareness and respect.

Steps Businesses can Take to Promote Diversity and Inclusion

There are appropriate steps any bold business can take to promote diversity in the workplace:

  1. Publicize job openings in diverse venues – There are many available websites recruiters can post job openings to, ones more focused on diversity and equal opportunity employment. There are many societies and subgroups that focus on minorities and niche groups such as for female engineers, people with Hispanic backgrounds, and the like.
  2. Do not discriminate in job descriptions – Strange as it is, there are still job descriptions out there that exclude and discriminate. To promote diversity in the workplace, start with descriptions that do not discriminate and are clearly for all types of applicants.
  3. Create a public diversity policy – It’s one thing to create a diversity policy, and another to have it publicized. These formal goals and strategies regarding equal opportunities should be transparent both within the company and outside of it.
  4. Be aware of and apply current legislation – At present, the Equality Act 2010 and the Human Rights Act 1998 are the key legislation relating to diversity and inclusion. It is important for companies to be aware of these, and apply it in the workplace.

In some ways, recent controversies help bold businesses all over the United States and around the world to understand the importance of diversity and inclusion, and to apply positive changes to reflect it. Companies need to pay attention more or risk losing their astounding talents to competitors – ones that capitalize on more inclusive workforces.

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