How Committing to Diversity Brings Unstoppable Business Advantage 

How Committing to Diversity Brings Unstoppable Business Advantage 

5 min read

Over the past several months, many organizations have reflected on the progress made in advancing diversity and gender equality in the workplace. At Uniphore, our commitment to creating a more inclusive workplace has led to the implementation of various initiatives to increase diversity and support women in the tech industry.  

In Uniphore’s recent podcast, guest host and Chief Marketing Officer Annie Weckesser sat down with Uniphore CEO and co-founder Umesh Sachdev and Lisa Lambert, founder and CEO of the executive women’s global networking organization Upward, to examine the company’s strategies for recruiting, retaining, and promoting women in the workforce, as well as the impact these efforts can have on any company’s culture and success. 

Want to Learn More About Gender Equality in the Workplace?

Check out our discussion with Annie Weckesser, Umesh Sachdev and Lisa Lambert on Conversations That Matter.

Episode 52 of uniphone features Lisa Lambert and Umesh Sacdev, showcasing their commitment to diversity in business.

Diverse teams equal greater business success

Studies have shown that diversity can positively impact innovation and company performance. For example, this 2018 study by McKinsey & Company found that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity were 21% more likely to experience above-average profitability than companies in the bottom quartile. Another study in the same year by the Boston Consulting Group found that companies with more diverse management teams had higher innovation revenue than those with less diverse teams.

Imagine reading those studies five years ago and putting diversity initiatives in place. Companies could be reaping the rewards of consistent, diverse input into major (and minor) company initiatives. By fostering an environment where diverse perspectives are valued and incorporated into decision-making, companies can better reflect the needs of their customers and drive long-term success.

Upward founder Lisa Lambert’s journey started before then, in 2013 working at Intel. “I was dealing with a difficult boss and had an increasingly political environment. [It was] less about the impact and more about who likes you,” she explains. “I thought there were probably other women facing these challenges.”

And there were. Her first meeting saw 90 women—far more than her estimated 50 or so—arrive to discuss their challenges working in tech right in Lambert’s backyard. From there, Upward began.

The problem she sees again and again since beginning Upward is a lack of commitment from companies when it comes to changing behaviors fossilized into company culture. Many people talk about inclusion, but more need to take the necessary steps to prioritize it. She points out three critical steps to changing this perspective:

Understand how important diversity really is: Instead of a nebulous "diversity is good" concept, companies must see the practical benefits. They often serve diverse communities and underrepresented markets, and diversity could be a key step to providing real value to those customer segments.

Establish the real objectives: Making strides in diversity requires measurable goals and a clear vision first.

Implement an accountability system: Lambert states that too many teams think about diversity but set no real consequences when their leaders and decision-makers don't actually diversify. This should change so that managers follow through.

Diversity helps companies bounce back when the business climate gets tough

Uniphore CEO Umesh Sachdev understands that it’s tempting to cut funding for initiatives like Diversity, Equality, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) when major disruptions like the pandemic cause business uncertainty. However, he strongly suggests going against what seems like common sense—cutting all programs not directly related to business initiatives— and instead doubling down on DEIB spending. For him, it’s because it’s the right thing to do. Even more, this is the secret sauce to ensuring that companies survive disruption for two big reasons. 

Diverse companies are more innovative

Studies like the ones mentioned above are great, but Sachdev has seen the effects of diversity firsthand. “Diverse teams can disagree and debate with each other,” he says, “and that’s the fundamental ingredient for innovation to occur.” Plus, in difficult economic times, companies need the benefit of truly different ideas to remain successful even when there is lots of uncertainty about.

Diverse teams are more resilient 

Diverse teams tend to outperform teams without non-diverse teams, thanks to a broader distribution of skill sets. Sachdev believes women, for example, bring a strong understanding of empathy and emotional self-awareness. And during the pandemic, those soft skills translated to highly effective small groups at Uniphore dedicated to weathering and innovating despite industry-wide turbulence.

How can companies begin to approach diversity? 

Both Lambert and Sachdev understand that companies can be unsure of where to start when building diversity. And some companies may believe these initiatives aren’t worth possibly creating tension between team members. However, both leaders don’t believe this has to be the case.

Here’s how Lambert approaches it. 

Take inventory of where your business is. The first step is to look at what the real numbers are in the company and how people feel when it comes to diversity. For example, how do men and women interact? What demographics are represented?

Put together trainings that help establish a culture of diversity. Lambert's group specializes in delivering these kinds of value-added pieces of training.

Continue to explore what employees need from you in their professional development related to these topics and deliver what they need. 

Sachdev adds that diversity isn’t a program but a company-wide approach to internal culture. That’s why Uniphore partners with Upward—to prioritize diversity and inclusion initiatives and develop meaningful programs that continue this work.

Create a company culture that reflects the diversity and equality mission

Promoting diversity and inclusion is not only a matter of social justice, but it also has a tangible impact on company performance and innovation. By embracing diverse perspectives and promoting equity in the workplace, companies like Uniphore are setting themselves up for long-term success and positioning themselves on the right side of history.

As the world continues to recognize the value of diversity and inclusion, companies must continue to prioritize efforts to attract, retain and promote individuals from a range of backgrounds and experiences. Ultimately, a diverse and inclusive workplace is not only beneficial for companies and employees, but it also helps to create a more just and equitable society for all.

Check out the podcast to hear more about how Lambert and Upward promote and support women in the workplace and to hear Sachdev's goals and vision for the future of Uniphore's diversity initiatives. 

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