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The number of people globally with the title Head of Diversity more than doubled (107% growth) between 2017 and 2022.

Source: Glassdoor

Relevance to the Future of Logistics

Diversity in Leadership

Diversity in leadership enables greater depth and breadth of experience, perspective, and knowledge, which equips leaders to better relate to employees, customers, and prospective customers. This, in turn, helps the business to grow. In order for companies to retain market position within their sectors, the ability to share experience and relate is what facilitates change and innovation.

Having women in leadership – for example, in predominantly male-dominant industries such as logistics and the supply chain – positively changes the perspective of potential female employees. Similarly, by diversifying leadership roles to enable growth and development for members of minority groups from the perspective of race, sexual orientation, and different ability, companies encourages employees in those groups to bring their skills and talent to the workplace. Seeing diversity in a leadership team acts as a catalyst that empowers and enables the entire team. According to a McKinsey study, 64% of millennials say they will not work for companies that perform poorly on corporate social responsibility; diversity is one of the focus topics of CSR.

In unprecedented times of challenges or uncertainty, leadership teams come together to make collective decisions on the way forward. When that team can leverage diversity in such a situation – the rich kaleidoscope of perspectives, different vantage points, and a diverse range of experiences – the conversations can be more candid and decisions more innovative.

Diversity in Vendor Selection

In recent years, there has been a significant rise in companies preferring to trade and do business with diverse companies. Vendor selection and the process of auditing a potential supplier now focus more keenly on social responsibility and enabling minority-owned businesses to thrive.

Companies use supplier diversity programs to unlock new value; for example, to drive vendor competition, enhance brand perception, encourage innovation, positively impact the local economy, and improve the bottom line.

These programs also help promote diversity across each company’s ecosystem. Research suggests industry-leading companies globally are aware of this, as they have committed more than 50 billion USD to partner with minority and women-owned business enterprises (MWBEs) in the next decade. Further boosting the economy, MWBEs are 67% more likely to employ minority talent and develop these people into higher positions. Per McKinsey, if spending with certified MWBEs doubled, so 2 trillion USD rather than the current 1 trillion USD, this could generate 280 billion USD in additional income and 4 million jobs for minority populations and women. Corporations have the potential to add value and help boost the global economy by prioritizing MWBE vendor selection, evidenced by the tech giant Google pledging to spend 2.5 billion USD with diverse suppliers in 2022.

Vendor diversity benefits everyone. Companies gain new value and minority-run businesses gain opportunities.

Talent Inclusion Through Technology

Traditionally, many industries are male dominated at all levels of seniority, including logistics. Today this is changing and often thanks to technology.

For example, by using exoskeletons in a warehouse, people with less physical strength than the average man can now lift heavy objects with relative ease, broadening the pool of potential candidates for that warehouse role. Similarly, robotics that automate operations within a distribution hub can easily be supervised by differently abled people to ensure workflows run smoothly.

The talent pool expands exponentially when a company commits to DEIB – all can be included and all should belong – and technology-enabled innovations inspire positive change across the organization, encouraging more people to apply for work in logistics and the supply chain.

Challenges

Some company leaders do not fully support team diversification; they may consider other issues have higher priority and may be uncomfortable about changing the status quo.
A key challenge in achieving workforce diversity is failure to attract a diverse range of talent, a surprising fact since potential employees say DEIB is so important when selecting which company to work for.
In order to facilitate change and drive DEIB, organizations need to address underlying unconscious bias and enable open dialog during recruitment and career advancement conversations.
When it comes to human behavioral habits and subconscious responses, change management needs more time.

This trend should be ACTIVELY monitored, with imminent developments and applications.

Outlook

Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging go far beyond HR concepts. When successfully embedded in the organization’s core values, they leverage the collective backgrounds and experiences of everyone in the organization and this inspires new ways of thinking and sparks fresh ideas. When DEIB is at forefront of a job applicant’s mind and is a priority item on a business agenda, this is pivotal to the company’s future success.

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