Recently, I was interviewed by Inside Public Accounting for an article the publication is writing on women in leadership. The discussion touched on a variety of diversity topics, and at one point, the reporter commented on the lack of diversity she sees each year when it comes to partner promotions within the accounting profession. “It’s a sea of pale and male,” she said.
Since forming our Diversity Council in 2003, Plante Moran has been very intentional to address that issue at our firm in order to recruit, retain, and develop a more diverse staff. Why? One of our managers, Alisha Davis, put it best in this recent Crain’s Detroit Business article: “Plante Moran studied its existing and prospective markets and saw that businesses owned by minorities and women were growing at far faster rates than businesses in general. This added urgency for the company to improve its diversity mix.”
“People really want to do business with people who understand them, understand their culture, and understand their language,” she continued. “We have to get this right, or else we’re going to lose our competitive advantage.”
I couldn’t agree more. A diverse workforce makes good business sense, and it does have an impact on the bottom line (in addition to being the right thing to do). Those organizations that embrace diversity will benefit from more diverse thinking, better retention of top talent, and a wider, more diverse, client base. According to the Census Bureau, by 2043, there will be no single majority group in the country. Firms that see the business case, embrace diversity now, and get it right will have a significant advantage in the coming years. Those that don’t will be on the sidelines wondering what went wrong.
What about you? What are you doing to increase diversity within your workforce?