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Author's profile photo Tom Flanagan

New on #SAPRadio: Business Impact of Diversity and Inclusion

There are two categories of diversity, according to Karen Sumberg, executive vice president of the Center for Talent. There is inherent diversity, such as one’s gender, race, nationality, etc. And there is acquired diversity, such as how one acts as a result of what they’ve experience or learned (e.g., cultural fluency, gender smarts and generational savvy).

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“Companies need to walk on two legs; they need two kinds of diversity, in order to innovate and remain competitive,” Sumberg said. She believes that companies with both inherent and acquired diversity receive a beneficial impact in accessing new markets and gaining market share.

Sumberg will join three other panelists on Tuesday for HR Trends with Game-Changers. The roundtable discussion will focus on the “Business Impact of Diversity and Inclusion.”

Global organizations must drive diversity and inclusion centrally, but that isn’t enough, according to panelist Mark McLane, global head of diversity and inclusion for Barclays. It needs to be delivered regionally and locally to have lasting impact.

“Diversity and inclusion should be about first recognizing that our colleagues are our customers,” McLane said. “They are not separate and distinct.”

Leadership ownership of diversity and inclusion will only be gained “after the work is aligned to a leader role and not viewed as a discretionary activity,” McLane added.

Fellow panelist Andrea Agnew agrees that it is important to engage senior leaders in “authentic dialogue” at an organizational level, especially as it relates to inclusive business practices. Organizations must institutionalize these practices as business-as-usual and not a “special program” or one-time initiative, stated Agnew, who is executive director of workforce diversity and inclusion at Comcast.

Converting status quo leadership into diversity evangelists is critical, according to Anka Wittenberg, SAP’s chief diversity and inclusion officer. Such a conversion increases the likelihood of long-term successes with diversity and inclusion as a business strategy.

“As the world continues to become increasingly diverse, the topic of diversity and inclusion has become essential — both from a social and business perspective,” Wittenberg said. “Companies that successfully build diversity within their employee base, coupled with a truly inclusive workplace culture, will have an undeniable competitive advantage in the future.”

Sumberg, McLane, Agnew and Wittenberg will have more to say about diversity on HR Trends with Game-Changers at noon ET (9 a.m. PT) Tuesday on SAP Radio. And continue the discussion on Twitter using #SAPRadio.

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