In today’s marketplace, more and more organizations are realizing the importance of being representative of the markets in which they serve. And with emerging growth in the global economy, companies are starting to incorporate diversity into all elements of their business – from hiring practices, to procurement, to training and development.
Many companies are already realizing significant advantages of leveraging diversity in both internal performance and external market competitiveness. Because of this, the incorporation of diversity at other levels of business is getting an increasing amount of warranted attention.
Leslie Meingast, an active leader in the Women and SME market shares further insight into the opportunities a diverse culture brings organizations.
TPD: How does diversity make a business more successful?
Diversity encompasses language, place of birth, age, gender and more.
Diversity in culture breads diversity in thought. By opening up to differences in opinion and perspective, global viewpoints are seen and heard. Without this diversity, people and organizations can become myopic, impeding growth and hindering opportunity.
At The Personnel Department, diversity is foundational.
- 15 languages are represented
- 2/3 of executive team are women
This diversity brings richness to our organization.
An interesting study was published by Stanford Business that established the positive impacts diversity has in work groups. The research confirmed that “the presence of social diversity makes people with independent points of view more willing to voice those points of view and others more willing to listen”.
TPD: Given your experience in the women’s market, what opportunities do you foresee in the diversity market?
Consider these facts:
- 85% of consumer decisions made in the US are made by women
- 4 out of 5 businesses being started in today’s economy are led by women
- When women make up 40% or more of an organization’s advisory board, the organization experiences better ROI, fosters stronger culture and is more socially responsible.
The women’s market is valued to be $15 trillion. Yet shockingly, very few corporations have developed a Diversity Supplier Program to tap into this market.
In the USA, only about 1000 corporations take part in WBENC. Some of these enlightened companies include: Chevron, Boeing, Nordstrom, and Target.
Looking forward, the opportunities for both corporations and diverse SME’s are limitless. Now is the time to develop diversity initiatives, invest in training programs, and broaden your perspective. By leveraging diversity in both internal performance and external practices, you can catapult your business into a wide-open market space.
TPD: What are the impacts of incorporating women into your executive teams?
Using a spider-web analogy, women tend to envision themselves as the centre of influence, with webs of connection leading to others in their network or organization. While the women may be leaders or managers within their organization, they embrace the expertise of others, leaning on colleagues for support.
Within our company, culture promotes collaboration and invests in the education and training of our greatest assets, our people. As a result, the organizational ‘web’ is continually growing outward – gaining capability, capacity and bandwidth.
The Personnel Department is WEConnect International and Employment Equity certified. Given these certification and HR qualifications, we work with our clients to develop diversity initiatives that will enable their business to succeed. To learn more about how to implement diversity programs within your organization, contact us.
FEATURED EXPERT: Leslie Meingast
Since 1980, Leslie has grown a global organization which has been named a Best Employer by various institutions over the last 10 years.
Leslie plays an active role in many organizations and advisory boards including:
- Women President’s Organization
- WEConnect Canada
- SME Advisory Board, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
- International Women’s Forum
- ice Chair, Forum for International Trade Training
- Chair, Galt Foundation; a not for profit which expands employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities and other vocational barriers
A mentor, speaker and advocate in diversity, Leslie works tirelessly to break barriers for women in business. “Diversity is a business imperative”, Meingast explains, “I live it, breathe it, sleep it”.
A Deserved Congratulations!
Given Leslie’s contributions to the women’s market and supplier diversity programs in Canada, she was awarded the 2012 WEConnect Internaional Ambassador Award. The award ceremony occurred during the WEConnnect International annual conference, held in Toronto from November 11-13, 2012. Congratulations, Leslie!