By Mona Lisa Faris, President and Publisher of DiversityComm, Inc.
These last several weeks have been anything but normal. Many, including DiversityComm, have taken to working from home and its difficult to not worry about the future.
As the days go on, I’ve been facing the reality that life in COVID-19 has become a new normal of sorts and the possibility of a recession isn’t completely off the table. Having been in the business for over thirty years and the complications that came with the 2008 and 2011 recessions as well as the events of September 11, 2001, I have learned that diversity is and continues to be the key to keep businesses moving. Studies show that racially diverse companies are 35% more likely to see an increase in financial returns in comparison with their competitors while companies that have a more cultural and ethical variation in their boards are 43% more likely to experience a higher income. Groups of diverse thinkers of three or more members have also tested to be more successful than an individual 87% of the time.
All of this being said, how does this work? And how do these diverse connections keep business working?
- Have Empathy
- COVID-19 is hard on everyone, but other groups of people will be experiencing this in a different way than others. Check in on your clients and employees on how they are doing during this time. Listen to what they say and educate yourself on how this situation is affecting their lives. People want to work with people who truly care about who they are and understand them on a real, human level. When they feel like they are genuinely being heard and cared for, they will remember your willingness to help and want to strengthen their connection with you. The same goes for employees. When employees feel they are being cared for, they are encouraged to increase work efficiency and less likely to contribute to the turnover rate.
- Re-Focus Your Goals
- As the world seems to be on “pause” lately, this is the perfect opportunity to plan for the future. What projects and aspects can you invest in now to setup your business for a higher success rate in the future? Once you refocus your goals and have a plan for what projects you want to carry out, then you can start building a team of qualified individuals. You will want a team of people that have expertise in a variety of areas so that every aspect of the project will go above and beyond the call of duty. If your team consists of a group that all have the same background, culture and life experience, the chances that something will be left out will increase. Will your project be accessible? Does it meet the standards in every area? A diverse group can ensure that all these questions are handled.
- Learn and Grow
- It’s easy to look at your past experience, available data and traditions of old as a template for how to run your business. While there is nothing inherently wrong with this, it is critical that we continue to learn and grow with the times. We are in a digital age and there are so many opportunities that can be seized through it. Though a digital form of business was almost nonexistent several decades ago, the willingness to keep up with the times is key for a business in today’s age to succeed. Listening to a variety of opinions from varying backgrounds and experiences will not only show you how to more effectively work your business, but will increase creativity and innovation in the workplace. The more educated we become, the more expanded our ideas and strategies will become.
The times are changing and uncertain, but when we focus on our team, employees, clients, partners, and connections while keeping an open mind to the changing times, we will succeed and we will get through this. We find strength in diversity.