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Logicalis, Cisco and Microsoft discuss the impact of diversity and inclusion on business success.

As employees leave their organizations in droves in pursuit of more meaningful existence and the war for talent heats up, leaders must reflect on their current strategies and structures, which may no longer be fit for purpose. Organizations need to transform their vision and leadership strategies to address the talent crisis while enabling an inclusive future for all. 

Research from Gartner has shown that in a diverse workforce performance improves by 12% and intent to stay by 20%. With nearly 8 out of 10 executives reporting that diversity is increasingly important in helping them achieve business goals, it’s clear that there is a desire to create more diverse and inclusive workplaces. However, for many organizations, despite long-term investment and commitment to the concept of diversity, not much progress has been made. As a result, businesses are missing out on the benefits that diversity can bring to the table, acting as a key differentiator in transformation and business success.

Celebrating International Women’s Day 2022, Logicalis Group CEO, Bob Bailkoski, sat down with Head of Responsible Business at Logicalis, Charissa Jaganath, Chief Inclusion, and Collaboration Officer and Senior VP of Inclusive Future and Strategy at Cisco, Shari Slate, and VP of Solution Strategy and Go-To-Market at Microsoft, Julie Sanford, to discuss the impact and what we can learn by taking creating a diverse and inclusive working environment. Panelists shared their views on what businesses can do to take meaningful steps towards creating a more diverse and inclusive workplace.

1. Get buy-in and active involvement from senior leaders

Senior leaders, especially those at the C-Suite level, need to create clear accountability and direction in their businesses when it comes to diversity and inclusion. By being transparent about creating a more diverse culture, encouraging two-way communication across all levels of the business, and critically tying a diverse approach to business success, businesses will quickly start to see the benefits of diversity in business success. 

Charissa Jaganath, Head of Responsible Business at Logicalis, commented, “I think having board members and senior leaders that truly understand the importance of this work, and get behind it, is imperative for achieving success.”

 2. Shared company values are critical

Leaders need to live and breathe shared organizational values to really embed organizational culture. It is no longer enough to just talk about them, leaders need to be brave and call out when values are not being lived up to. The most successful companies are captained by leaders who go out of their way to communicate their own cultural identities, beliefs, and values which fully align with shared company values. Being able to inspire, empower and instill these in others is the key to success. 

Shari Slate, Chief Inclusion and Collaboration Officer and Senior VP of Inclusive Future and Strategy at Cisco, said, “We’ve got to make sure that we use and leverage inspiration as currency to partner with our employees, customers, partners, and suppliers to work together to solve challenges that have been long-standing in the world. Ultimately, your beliefs as a company matter, and give you the ability to show up at any moment, at any time for your entire stakeholder stack.”

3. Everyone can be a catalyst for change

Empowering employees by helping them realize they can be a catalyst for positive change is key to adopting a successful diversity and inclusion approach. By empowering them to live shared values, take care of each other and their environment, inclusion, and collaboration quickly become a foundation for how an organization operates. It can also stimulate a grass-roots approach when they see the direct positive impact they have on the world. 

Julie Sanford, VP of Solutions Strategy and Go-To-Market at Microsoft, noted, “I don’t have to wait for a funded, large initiative from the company to make a difference. I can lean in now and actually start being a catalyst for change. It’s all about feeling empowered to go and lead with your authentic voice and being open to change. If you’re a senior leader in your business, being able to be authentic, share stories and lean in, even if it’s a daunting topic, people will want to share, talk and learn.” 

Ultimately diversity and inclusion truly matter for businesses that want to succeed. Offering a key differentiator in the transformation has wide-reaching effects from creating a more positive, collaborative culture to bringing about business success and even competitive advantage by creating new connections. To learn more from two titans in the technology industry, Cisco and Microsoft, and peek beneath the curtain on their mature diversity and inclusion programs and the resulting success they experienced, watch the full webinar now. There is so much potential to be unlocked in taking a more diverse approach to business and we all look forward to contributing to a more diverse and inclusive future. Learn more about our diversity and inclusion initiatives here.