Diversity Called ‘Workforce Imperative’
A new report by the Network of Executive Women maintains
and retailers who create and maintain a diverse workforce are more likely to
increase innovation and meet consumer needs than those who don’t.”
report, The Changing Consumer and the Workforce Imperative, maintains
that changes in American society have led to an increasingly diverse consumer
base with numerous segments (women, Hispanics, African Americans and lesbian,
gay, bisexual and transgender individuals) representing significant business
opportunities in and of themselves.
Executives at more than two dozen U.S. consumer
goods and retail companies were interviewed for The Changing Consumer and
the Workforce Imperative to
gain an understanding of how diversity in the workplace translates into deeper
insights into behaviors among shopper segments.
“Cultural connections are critical to understanding what drives purchasing
decisions and brand loyalty across different market segments,” Alison
Paul, immediate past president of the Network of Executive Women and vice chairman
and U.S. retail sector leader, Deloitte LLP, said in a statement. “Making
these connections rely on retailers’ and manufacturers’ ability
to not only become more culturally aware — which are increasingly table
stakes — but harness and value diverse perspectives as a source of innovation.”
J.C. Penney and Target were the lone retailers named to The
DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list.
Kathryn Collins, vice
president, inclusion & diversity and recruiting
for J.C. Penney, told DiversityInc, “Our commitment to inclusion
and diversity enables a culture that fosters engagement, innovation and sustainable
Gregg Steinhafel, chairman, president and CEO for Target, said, “Fostering
an inclusive culture is a core value we integrate into every area of our business,
including our guest, supplier and community relationships. By leveraging the
talents of our diverse team, we can deliver a superior shopping experience
that meets the unique, ever-changing needs of our varied guest segments.”
Discussion Questions: Do you agree that a more diverse workforce drives innovation and sales as concluded in The Changing Consumer and the Workforce Imperative report? How does “commonality of culture” within an organization conflict with the principle of diversity? Are there any retailers or other companies that you think exemplify the positives of diversity?