Diversity and inclusion can be a company's most valuable asset. According to the Center for Talent Innovation, companies that excel at it have a better bottom line, happier employees, greater innovation, and ultimately better retention. Get diversity and inclusion right and you have a better chance of success. Get it wrong and you run the risk of an unhealthy, unproductive workforce — and risk your reputation.
Having low diversity and inclusion standards almost sunk ride-hailing giant Uber in 2017 after an ex-Uber engineer published a blog post in which she said she had repeatedly complained about sexual harassment and discrimination. This led to an internal investigation by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who produced a 13-page report in which he recommended that Uber overhaul its management.
Among other things, Holder suggested:
- The company adopt a zero-tolerance policy for substantiated complaints of discrimination and harassment.
- Elevate the visibility of Uber's current head of diversity in order to demonstrate the company's commitment to the issue.
- Consider adding an employee diversity advisory board.
- Regularly publish diversity statistics to judge how the company is meeting its goals.
- And target diverse sources of talent.
Now eight months into her role, Bo Young Lee, Uber's first-ever diversity and inclusion officer, opened up at CNBC's Capital Exchange on Thursday, revealing what it was like to step into an environment that appeared almost intractable and stop the "name-calling and the finger-pointing."