Janet Stovall, Executive Speech writer, and a self-proclaimed ‘unicorn’ of a predominantly white and male dominated profession, in her Ted Talk speech exclaimed “Business is in a position to do something that no other entity can do.”
In the 1980s she was only one of about 50 black students who enrolled at Davidson College in North Carolina. Here, she had to experience some really uncomfortable conversations about race. So at work, she tackled racism through a well-designed business approach that would go on to dismantle diversity in all its hues.
Unfortunately, even in more contemporary times, equity and diversity are still looming issues. Here is one such example.
A more recent study in the U.S. showed that the COVID-19 situation prompted higher infection and mortality rates amongst the people of colour. Women along with these numbers recorded the biggest proportion of job losses.
In another modern setting, DEI is being fostered with utmost affinity by companies that understand its worth. For instance, with a deep-thought empathetic process, the Volvo Group made Diversity, Equity and Inclusion a part of their corporate value system. They even pledged to make unique inclusivity decisions. The company begets the right environment as it promotes gender equality, provides avenues for women to grow in engineering and embraces the LGBT community with open arms at its workplace.
What is DEI?
DEI stands for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the workplace. It takes precedence and on its own comes with several benefits for a corporation. Corporate DEI values acknowledge differences between people across race, gender, orientation, language, religion, economic status, and any trait that sets an individual apart from ‘normal’ societal purview.
When a company’s value strategies are integrated with DEI, it can reap benefits in both cash and kind.
A 2019 report by Xcatly indicated that B2B sales are primarily dominated by men. It also indicated that female sales reps made at least 33% or about 77 cents against every dollar that a man did and had lower base incomes than their male counterparts. If it helps, women get higher commission rates. The data was published after a survey of at least 300 companies and 100,000 individuals in various roles such as sales managers, account executives and account managers, across the United States. The analysis also found that teams led by women performed better but yet their representation across managerial levels was miserly.
Locally, in Australia, companies are taking steps to address issues that might affect women’s advancement. A report published in 2018 by McKinsey stated that women constitute 42% of all employees but only 10% are in leadership or CEO roles. While the situation has seen some progress, women in leadership roles are a meagre 2.8% with public administration.
Sales and inclusivity
Sales leaders must awaken to inclusivity within the sales spectrum and understand the impact that DEI can have on business outcomes. Appropriate stimulus and outside-the-box thinking in a fast-paced business environment disrupt bottom-line growth shoving it upward, towards profitability and revenue. Homogeneous attention to prospects backed up by a strategic sales plan is pivotal to organisational and surplus growth.
Visibly, diversity is not limited to gender, age, disability and ethnicity. It dilates to farther horizons such as marital status, sexual orientation, political credence and much more. Chief Sales Officers must revisit their organisational moral principles to examine if DEI is a part of their set of values. They must also ensure that employees understand why a cultural, impartial and inclusive team performs much better and is beneficial to the organisation.
Establish cultural imperatives and an equal platform, and exercise different ways to resolve business and sales issues. Company stakeholders must ensure that all team members feel the sense of belonging thus addressing all diversification issues in the process. DEI requires considerable dedication and allocation of resources to remain successful.
Busting the myths related to diversity and inclusivity
As sales leaders get eyeball to eyeball with the diversity and inclusivity issue, here are some myths that you should break.
Myth 1: Automatic inclusivity is followed by a diverse workforce.
No. Just hiring a diverse set of employees will not do the trick. Your workplace should be inclusive too. People should be able to bring themselves in their entirety to their workplace, every day. Otherwise, they fail to give their best. Sales leaders must improve practices where the environment, on the whole, is sanitised of all differences. Let’s face it – sales teams don’t have a great reputation. So, employees are typically not walking into green pastures when they choose to sell, and non-inclusivity only exacerbates emotions.
Myth 2: Potential candidates are not diverse
Job postings can wilfully or unwittingly dissuade a minority candidate from applying (it is a mere choice of words).For instance, a segmented style and format of the advertisement can discourage women from proceeding with an application. When that happens, remember you clearly don’t hire a diverse pool of employees. Focus should be more on constructive job descriptions and responsibilities rather than the ethnicity or diversification that they bring to the table.
Myth 3: The customer base is not diverse
One of the biggest myths is that your sales teams are going to confront only ONE type of customer. There are multifarious races, genders and thought-processes that they have to encounter as they try to come to an agreement.
“If you want to make the world a better place take a look at yourself and make a change…” Man in the Mirror, Michael Jackson
For sales job seekers, DEI is a criterion as they explore companies that have a unanimous interest in sales talent. Therefore, sales leaders must hold a more representative workforce that achieves balance with gender, culture, race, age and much more.
Discriminatory experiences will only make younger seekers leave their employers. When you place a stronger emphasis on DEI, you can attract better sales talent and even boost retention. Be patient as you amp up your sales talent by giving candidates substantial time to prove their worth. Otherwise, you will have a semi-productive team with no impact on achieving your numbers besides having to lose some very strong market players in the process.
DEI insights for the workplace
No staging. No PR stunts. No check-the-box campaigns. With deeply entrenched DEI values, Corporality believes that long term initiatives are best for the business and the people.
1. Less Turnover
Building a positive employee brand will only place you on top of the stack where the best talents will seek work and retain themselves. 50% more qualified applicants are likely to be attracted to a strong brand that infuses inclusivity and diversity in its hiring values, thus helping employers fill up space twice as fast. (courtesy LinkedIn study). At the same time, you will have less resource turnover, more productivity and better loyalty.
2. Boosts financial performance
Ethnically diverse organisations are more likely to show better financial performance (study courtesy: McKinsey & Company) than the industry medians. Gender-diverse employment is 15% more likely to perform better than national averages.
3. Innovation and growth
New capture market increases by at least 70% for businesses that reinforce gender equality. They are also 45% more likely to report augmented YOY market shares (study courtesy: HBR).
4. Augmented employee engagement
There are more actively engaged millennials (at least 83%) when the company culture is inclusive and welcoming. This number drops to 60% when the business does not inculcate DEI values. And disengaged employees can be very costly as businesses may lose at least $350 billion in productivity.
Corporality Global exhibits cultural diversity even in its brand name with ‘global’ holding the key to DEI. We help Sales Leaders revitalise their talent strategies and retain top talent within your sales team. Committed to building a better culture, we inculcate the best practices of DEI across your company culture.