The mayhem of 2020 has forced many companies to rethink and pivot away from tried and true systems. Cheryl Ingram, known as Dr. CI, is a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) expert, scholar, entrepreneur, innovator, creator, blogger, and tech consultant who believes that as companies reinvent their “new normal,” their changes can not be limited to remote working, social distancing, or transitioning to digital. Companies will also need to focus on cultivating inclusive workplaces that not only foster diversity but also reward it.
Ingram is the owner of Diverse City LLC, a consulting firm specializing in creating sustainable and equitable diversity and inclusion practices, policies, and strategies for organizations. For every job Ingram has ever held, she has a memory of a time she felt discriminated against, marginalized, or overlooked to match.
Knowing what it feels like to be a victim of such unfairness, Ingram was disappointed when she realized she created this same non-inclusive culture within the company she worked for. In reviewing the company’s recruitment and retention rates, she found they excelled in diversity. Still, the turnover rate, especially among black males, was over 70 percent‚ underwhelming for a diversity and inclusion firm. To help change this narrative she started her own company, Inclusology, which uses an automated platform that helps companies create and maintain inclusive work environments. Its mission: to make all workplaces all-inclusive for all people.
“I’ve been in companies that have made the same mistake many companies are making today. They are not prioritizing building an inclusive culture,” she says. “Having a seat at the table is not enough for marginalized populations. We want to have an impact. Companies need to start asking themselves once they hire marginalized groups what steps will they take to make sure these people feel fulfilled in their roles.”
Inclusology focuses on three main objectives: to increase new-hire diversity, increase retention rates, and decrease discrimination-related complaints. Fixing these issues is not a one-size-fits all, nor is it a one-and-done process. That is why Inclusology uses an automated system to customize a smart course of action for each company. The first of its kind, this system takes the guesswork out for companies who have a genuine desire to be more inclusive but do not know which steps to take.
Companies can no longer afford to make diversity and inclusion mistakes, both in a literal and figurative sense. The lack of inclusivity and high-level turnover rates costs companies billions of dollars every year. Further, due to the national outcry inspired by the county’s racial injustice, companies in all sectors are being scrutinized. “C-suite professionals can no longer take a neutral approach to the topic of racism because the conversation is now growing louder within their workplaces,” Ingram writes in Geekwire. Whether companies like it or not, to stay relevant and in good favor with their consumers and employees, they will need to focus more on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
The inequitable reality of marginalized groups in the workplace did not happen overnight, nor will it go away overnight. We cannot assume the problem will correct itself, however. All organizations must be willing to go beyond the bare minimum of merely hiring more diverse employees.
The systems used in Inclusology have already proven effective during their beta phase. On average, they have helped dozens of companies see a 13% increase in diversity, a 40% increase in employee retention, and an 8% decrease in discrimination-related complaints.
This data proves that with effort and the right tools, all workplaces can minimize, if not eliminate, the pressing issue of discrimination in the workplace.
Inclusology will officially launch January 30.