3. Diversity best practices are business-driven best practices.
Although the value of employee resource groups and formal mentoring programs are sometimes illusive to men in the majority, people who have formerly been excluded from corporate opportunities—women and people of color—thrive when these best practices are put to business-driven use. Recruitment and retention increases, and regrettable loss decreases.
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All four of the big four accounting firms have 100 percent of their management in structured, disciplined mentoring. We see a direct correlation between employee resource groups with formal charters tied to business goals and increases in diversity in the workforce and management. If you think about a country club being a traditional resource group for wealthy white people, you can understand how this works.
4. If you want to do business with these companies, you need to understand their values.
According to the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy, the average company donates 0.14 percent of their gross revenue. The DiversityInc Top 50 average 1.5 percent (DiversityInc has averaged 3.5 percent every year through the recession).
On a pragmatic note, if your sales team is mostly white men and they go to a meeting and ignore the women in the room at a Top 50 company (this happens regularly even in our office), they're very likely to be ignoring the decision maker. They're certainly going to offend everyone.
There's a reason why George Chavel, CEO of Sodexo—No. 2 on this year's list—said at one of our events, "All else being equal, we will win an RFP based on diversity."