Creating More Inclusive Companies Begins With You, Not Your Diversity Department. Here’s How To Get Started.

by Nihar Chhaya

In the months of social unrest following the George Floyd incident and other examples of racial injustice broadcast on the world stage, many businesses felt pressure to demonstrate allegiance with movements like Black Lives Matter and others.

At the time, a CEO coaching client of mine shared an interesting perspective with me. He said, “for so many years, we could act as if those issues were society’s problem and stay neutral because we were running a business.”

“But now it’s different. Today if you don’t say anything, you are taking a side. And you may be seen as complicit.”

More than ever before, we see issues of morality and justice seep into the business world. After all, the employees, customers, and investors of companies are the very same people who live amidst the social injustice we see.

And even just this week, in his 60 Minutes interview, former President Barack Obama tied the importance of business leaders stepping up in their workplaces to fighting discrimination in other aspects of society.

“If we’re going to actually put an end to racial bias in the criminal justice system,” he said, “then we’re going to have to work on doing something about racial bias in corporate America and bias in where people can buy homes.”

So why are so many leaders still reticent to make diversity and inclusion their business objective just as much as say, product development and sales or marketing?

After all, it’s becoming clear that continuing to kick the can down the road on diversity and inclusion issues does in fact lead key stakeholders to take their business elsewhere. 67% of job seekers consider workplace diversity necessary when considering employment opportunities, so a company’s competitiveness in the war for future talent is at stake.


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