For years, employers have typically addressed employee engagement and retention issues with a blanket policy that does not accommodate for generational diversity. That presents challenges for organizations seeking internal diversity and inclusion to emulate business strategy.
Committing to diversity and inclusion fuels innovation and allows organizations to better serve customers, keep employees engaged and outperform the competition. Anka Wittenberg, a multi-generational and diversity expert, shares her thoughts on how organizations can turn workplace differences into strategic advantages in business events and internally.
The business landscape will look dramatically different in coming decades. By embracing people’s differences, we can spark innovation, better understand and serve our customers, and gain competitive advantage.
Many researchers and social scientists have proven a link between diversity and productivity. A study published by Bersoin/Deloitte in January 2018 showed companies that embrace diversity and inclusion are six times more likely to cope with change and six times more likely to be innovative.
Here’s how you can start:
2. Discover new places to network.
Networking can amplify results achieved from collaborating with diverse individuals. By going to events for closely related professions, or simply connecting through social media channels such as Twitter or LinkedIn where you can virtually engage in conversations with anyone, you put yourself in a position for growth. While interacting with your network, look for, accept and appreciate differences. Friction leads to heat, and our heat makes the atoms move faster!
3. Focus on the strengths everybody brings to the table.
We are brought up in the Western World to focus on what doesn’t work or what is different. Challenge yourself to appreciate the differences of others and see them as potential drivers of change. People with different communication abilities, for instance, can be diverse. In the future of work, diversity will not be an option, but an imperative to sustain in our global, fast paced economy, where never just one person owns and knows the truth.
Wittenberg’s exposure to bias occurred while she was searching for a job after earning a graduate degree in economics. At the time, she was a mother of three young children. Her job search was unsuccessful in Germany, so she began looking in the United States and was hired. Her experience with unconscious bias made Wittenberg a passionate proponent for diversity and inclusion. She is a former chief diversity and inclusion officer for SAP, where she was responsible for the development and implementation of SAP’s global diversity and inclusion strategy.
Wittenberg will present “Improve Business Results with Diversity and Inclusion” at 2019 PCMA Convening Leaders, where she will explore how creating diverse and inclusive cultures increases innovation, drives better business results and improves employee engagement.
Wittenberg is part of the Ascent Studio sessions at Convening Leaders, a four-day education event Jan. 6-9, 2019, in the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Convening Leaders is PCMA’s signature annual event and where the business events industry learns how to create meaningful and engaging events. The 2019 “Disrupt and Deliver” program offers a series of workshops aligned to nine educational tracks, including leadership, innovation, diversity and inclusion, event strategy and design, lifestyle, audience engagement and acquisition, among others. Learn more atConveningLeaders.org.