Incidents of racial discrimination and violence over the last few years have shined an ever-brighter spotlight on societal inequities and injustice and have brought forth an urgency in our world for true change.
While there are certain business-related benefits to more inclusive workforces, focusing on hiring practices, training programs and focus groups are a helpful starting point.
When diversity, equity and inclusion become part of a company's core competencies and are viewed as an asset — rather than something we think we need to do because the world is watching — only then will we see the transformation take hold. Transformation can also be assessed by how widely a company's efforts are taking hold, i.e., is the human resources or talent acquisition team the primary group focused on DEI efforts? Or are employees at every level of the organization involved in the effort to build and cultivate a diverse and equitable culture?
The investment industry, in particular, has spoken extensively about why increasing diversity is important and is the right thing to do, but whether the industry is devoting enough attention and resources to ignite systemic change remains an open question. Lasting change to support DEI efforts and integration is a complex challenge that requires progress to be evaluated over the long run. However, firms that lack focus on diversity are missing out on huge segments of the population with the potential to contribute new insights. The good news is that investment management firms can take meaningful steps now to begin transforming their businesses into those that consistently incorporate diversity, equity and inclusion.