President Biden vowed to create a cabinet that “looks like America,” and he is delivering on his promise.
A quick glance at his new proposed cabinet:
- Out of 25 members, less than half are white.
- Almost half are women.
- First female Treasury secretary (we love a powerful woman who’s all about that coin!).
- First openly gay secretary (that would be Mr. Pete Buttigieg).
- First Native American secretary (come through, Deb Haaland!).
- First Black person to lead the Defense Department (Yes, Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III.)
- First immigrant and Latinx to lead the Department of Homeland Security.
- And so many other historic firsts.
Biden’s decision to bring more diversity to the White House is not just the right thing to do on a moral and ethical level.
It’s also a very smart, business-savvy move. Biden is thinking like a leader who wants to get things done and generate results.
One study, analyzing 700 different companies across 8 different countries, found that companies with a diverse team typically generate 19% more revenue than non-diverse ones do. And if you have a diverse executive leadership team? According to a McKinsey study, that number jumps to 35% more cash coming in the door.
Turns out, hiring women, people of color, LGBTQI+ people, indigenous people, immigrants, and other marginalized people isn’t just a “nice” or “socially polite” thing to do. It literally makes your business stronger and more profitable.
Kinda makes you wonder why all those old white male conservative CEOs haven’t been doing this for decades because they sure love making money. (Oh right … racism, sexism, homophobia, etc.)
Back to you. As a business owner, it’s time for you to follow Biden’s lead and make diversity a priority.
You might be wondering, “How can I create a diverse team?”
For a detailed, nuanced answer to that question, listen to The Hello Seven podcast this month (we'll be talking about this topic more in the coming weeks) or even better, join The Club where we’re focusing on hiring all throughout the month of February.
But for starters, a few basic things to keep in mind.
If you want to hire and create a diverse team:
1. You have to EARN diversity with inclusivity.
This is the most important step, and the one too many corporate workplaces try to shortcut. You need to ensure that your workplace is a place where your diverse hires can fully be themselves. Fully Black. Fully trans. Fully Indigenous. Fully … themselves.
In the words of Austin Channing Brown, in her spectacular book I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness:
“It's work to be the only person of color in an organization, bearing the weight of all your white co-workers' questions about Blackness.
It's work to always be hyper visible because your skin – easily identified as being present or absent – but for your needs to be completely invisible to those around you.
It's work to do the emotional labor of pointing out problematic racist thinking, policies, actions, and statements while desperately trying to avoid bitterness and cynicism.”
DO NOT hire BIPOC, LGBTQIA+ or members of other systemically marginalized communities without embracing and participating in the continuous work of creating a safe and inclusive workplace. DEI training is just the beginning. Recognize that if you’re going to reap the rewards (and there are many) of creating a diverse workforce, you’re going to have to build an inclusive culture as well. One that includes gender and racial equity.
Be humble and get the education you need- then put the work in. And don’t ever stop.
2. Take the initiative to find the employees you want. Go to them. Don’t sit back passively and assume they will find you.
If you post a job description and 100% of the applicants you get are white, you need to do a better job at marketing your position to diverse audiences.
For instance, you could post your job description on a site like Jopwell (a career site for Black, Latinx, and Native American students and professionals) or at the career offices of HBCUs. Put the effort in to attract diverse candidates and you might get a very different pool of applicants.
3. Back up your words with actions.
You say diversity is a top value at your company. Cool. Nice words.
But then 9 out of your last 10 podcast guests were white, straight, and cisgender. And 90% of your marketing budget got spent on products and services from white vendors. So, you’re saying “diversity matters,” but it’s just empty words. No substance.
Values mean nothing unless they are expressed consistently through actions, not just words.
Walk your talk. The more you walk your talk, the more people will notice your company and be genuinely impressed, apply for your positions, and (once hired) actually stay instead of leaving.
That list of 3 suggestions is not everything, but it’s a start.
You want to see your company earnings grow by 19% to 35%?
Create a diverse team.
Diversity is not a goal that you can bump to the bottom of your to-do list or save for next year.
If you care about the survival of your business, this needs to be a priority—not an afterthought.
PS. Do you wish you had more diversity within your community of clients and customers? Not just white folks purchasing your work? Here’s an article I wrote to help you out. Read it and you’ll find recommended books and advisors to hire, too.
PPS. Did you see Kamala, Michelle, J-Lo, and the incredible Amanda Gorman at the Inauguration the other day? My heart is still soaring. Full text of Amanda’s poem.
PPPS. February is all about hiring, inside The Club.
- Am I ready to hire my first (or next) employee? How can I be sure?
- How do I write an amazing job description that attracts my dream person?
- What if I need to hire someone asap (because I am exhausted and need help) but I don’t have the money to pay anyone right now?!
We’re digging into all those hiring questions—and more—all throughout February. We’ve got solutions, checklists, and so much gold to share with you.
If you’re already a Club member, then you automatically get all the hiring training as part of your membership. It’s all yours, Friend.
If you’re not a Club member yet, join today so you can get all the goods. We can’t wait to meet you.