The following opinion column was published in the Journal of Commerce, Jan. 4, 2021
In an increasingly competitive and transparent supply chain sector, our most innovative advances will more often come from our people than from technology or capital investment, and that will require unlocking the power of their diverse backgrounds, experiences, and points of view. To leverage this diversity, companies must foster inclusion.
Hiring within underrepresented groups, such as women and minorities, helps sustain a workforce. Yet truly inclusive practices, where everyone is respected, valued, and has a voice, extend beyond identity groups. They allow a company to tap into the differences and unique abilities and experiences of employees, who are then empowered to build transformative solutions for customers and markets.
Research shows companies that embrace the power of inclusion have a higher performing culture, achieve better outcomes, increase their market share, and provide higher levels of customer satisfaction. At Crowley, we know this pursuit is a journey. It is not perfect, and it takes time and dedication. However, we believe inclusion is a catalyst for positive disruptions that spark fresh ideas and services, taking what we have always done and realigning or recreating it to make supply chain solutions more effective.
Traditionally, talent management has focused on bringing in diverse talent, then assimilating new team members into a culture. However, recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce without taking steps to foster an inclusive culture will create a diverse team, but one that may never realize its potential value. To increase inclusion, we work to improve communication by recognizing and overcoming bias and enhancing awareness. We open up discussions that ordinarily might have been smaller. And we drop the insistence on hierarchies and ownership of roles that inhibits contributions and ideas.
When companies attain a higher level of inclusion, they make a positive impact on customers, careers, the lives of their people, and the industry as a whole.