Diversity was obviously at the forefront of this year’s Super Bowl broadcast. Despite featuring diversity prominently in TV commercials, are companies still getting diversity wrong?

The Super Bowl ads this year were the usual hit and miss. However, most of the advertisers did have an abundance of diverse talent in their ads and they featured diversity as the theme.

Often, companies take a reactive approach to Diversity & Inclusion (D&I), and find a quick fix by highlighting diverse images as the face(s) of the company or the customers they are trying to reach. However, many companies fail to “walk the talk.”  The recent champions of D&I may not realize that including diverse people in their ads or on their website is just the beginning of implementing inclusion, and not the end.

A company committed to D&I should ask themselves, “why does D&I matter to our organization?  If their answer is that they don’t see D&I as a business case, then they are missing a major opportunity, and they may be leading their organization towards undesirable results. Companies need to answer the following questions:

  1. Is D&I amongst your business priorities for the current financial year?
  2. Are you adding funds and resources for your D&I initiative?
  3. Does your Chief Diversity Officer have a P&L; do you even have a CDO?
  4. Are you eliminating your head of diverse markets or cutting their budgets?
  5. What is the compensation for your top leadership professionals tied to D&I goals?

D&I is a long-term investment with long-term returns. It works best when done proactively. It will cost you to be diverse, but the cost of doing it is less than the cost of not doing it.  Diversity is ineffective without inclusion.

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