“Diversity enriches our performance and products…Microsoft [is] a company that has not only adapted well to rapid change in the business landscape, [it] has elevated the standards of what we can expect in a technology provider when it comes to diversity and inclusion.”

— Microsoft’s Chief Diversity Officer, Lindsay-Rae McIntyre

Diversity and inclusion are key pillars for all the leading organizations today. It has become a vital factor in defining an organization’s talent retention, engagement, and performance strategies.

Due to this, the demand for Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) in the United States is rising rapidly. The shift in both public response and organizational issues of inclusion, diversity, harassment, discrimination, and the influence of globalization on the modern workforce has brought more visibility into the importance of CDOs.

Here is a complete guide to help you understand why your company needs a Cheif Diversity Officer:

Who is a Chief Diversity Officer?

One of the major responsibilities of the Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) is to define strategies that support the volatile demographics and the varying needs of staff and workers. They continuously work to keep up with an ever-evolving diverse workforce.

CDOs largely rely on collected workforce data to identify and understand the needs and aspirations of different demographics. This information largely helps CDOs in creating relevant strategies to attract the diverse workforce into the organization.

For instance, according to a report by Pew Research, expanding populations of working millennials and women are generating a more diverse labor market. A market with a dynamic demographic means that the workers have different and new needs.  Another study conducted by Fairygodboss suggests that women prefer flexibility and compensation as a differentiator when seeking employment.

Let us look at a few reasons why a Chief Diversity Officer is necessary for your company.

1. Diversity and Inclusion Is Complicated

D& I incorporate more than just race, gender, ethnicity, cultural values, and sexual orientation. It covers a wide range of personal, societal, and economical aspects, such as marital status, age, geographical location, and family stage. Furthermore, it also includes some personal attributes of an employee, such as problem-solving styles, needs and desires, work style, and work values. This makes D& It’s a complex domain that needs more attention and care than other business aspects.

Due to these complexities, organizations require experienced and dedicated leaders to continuously assess, understand, and work towards achieving workforce diversity.

2. Human Resources are Overworked

Over the years, the HR department has grown from a policy driver to a strategic partner and a vital business arm.  Today, the range of business functions of HR has expanded, the staff now has far too many and diverse responsibilities.

Adding D& I efforts to the already lengthy list of these HR employees’ tasks is not fair.  D& I needs special attention. Therefore, you must hire a separate inclusion officer to work alongside the head of HR. The officer can help the department develop a robust and strategic plan for diversity and ensure its implementation.

The roles of the Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO) and Chief Diversity Officer are dependent on each other. The CHRO develops strategies related to the Company and its workforce professional growth, while the CDO builds and implements D& I plan for an inclusive and diverse workforce.

3. D&I is a Corporate Responsibility

People from different social backgrounds and ethnicities may often feel a sense of exclusion—some employees may have a feeling of exclusion with their current employer due to previous discriminatory experiences. The failure to form emotional bonds and social with work colleagues can lead to early resignations. Employees might feel that they are being excluded from opportunities for promotion or extra responsibility.

Leading companies today are leveraging Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and philanthropy to engage employees, drive meaningful change, and create a positive influence. Crucial issues such as social justice diversity, immigration, and pay equity have made their way into their C-suite and business policies.

4. Valuable Addition to Your Leadership

Business acumen and leadership are integral to diversity and inclusion officer. The job of a CDO is demanding, whether the officer is hired from outside or promoted internally.

Chief Diversity Officers can be an excellent addition to your leadership table, especially when organizations are trying to strategize ways to shift their focus, target untapped talent, enter new markets, or attract stakeholders. CDOs can mobilize organizations and bring a valuable perspective to the table. They can effectively engage stakeholders and employees at all levels of an organization to successfully achieve its goal.

Diversity, inclusion, and innovation are essential drivers of business growth. It sets the best companies apart from their competition.  If companies want to leverage D&I to achieve or even surpass their business and workplace goals, then the Chief Diversity Officer should be at the helm.

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