One of the many substantial topics making headlines in our country is the important and necessary call to action to achieve lasting change to eliminate racial disparities and advance equality, equity and social justice for all. Kimball Midwest started answering this call to action in January 2020 by launching the Culture, Diversity and Inclusion Department (CDI).
What is workplace diversity? At its core, it includes differences attributed to generation, culture, work style and personality types. What about inclusion? Well, it’s what happens when people feel a sense of belonging in their organization – they can be themselves and feel valued for who they are. Incorporating both causes a ripple effect that brings about positive change within the organization and in the broader community.
Since its launch, CDI has been working to bring about that positive change – not just within Kimball Midwest, but also to the community and our supply chain. These efforts are categorized into four pillars:
- Workforce: The main goal of this pillar is to attract, develop and retain talent from all backgrounds that reflects our communities. Diversity provides a wider pool of qualified candidates. Not only that, but research shows diverse organizations are more successful at retaining talent, and inclusive workplaces maximize talent and productivity.
- Workplace: This pillar aims to create a culture of inclusion to foster an open, high-energy and high-performing environment where all can feel valued, included and empowered to bring great ideas to the table.
- Community: This pillar was created to position Kimball Midwest as a diversity and inclusion leader and draw on our diverse talent and inclusive culture to win with customers and within our communities.
- Supplier diversity: The focus for this pillar is to drive economic inclusion in our supply chain. Kimball Midwest has always welcomed partnerships with diverse suppliers and is proud to partner with women-owned and minority-owned businesses nationwide. However, this pillar is meant to go even further by looking into the CDI efforts of our top suppliers to ensure they are aligned with our values.
Many studies link diversity to indicators of success, including market performance and sales growth. McKinsey & Company’s study of 1,000 companies in 12 countries found organizations in the top 25% when it comes to gender diversity among leadership teams were more likely to outperform in all key business indicators.
- Organizations in the top 25% for ethnic/cultural diversity were more likely to achieve above-average profitability – 33% for diverse leadership teams.
- Companies in the bottom 25% for both gender and ethnic/cultural diversity were 29% less likely to experience growth above the industry average.
Forbes lists some additional advantages of workplace diversity and inclusion:
- Increased innovation: Companies can develop products that meet the changing needs of customers.
- Efficient decision making: Inclusive teams made significantly better decisions in less time with better results.
Of course, these are just a few of the numerous benefits that come from fostering a diverse and inclusive work culture.
Giving back aligns with Kimball Midwest’s mission, vision and values. Many of the organizations we support, such as Cristo Rey, Meals on Wheels and Big Brothers Big Sisters, help underserved people and communities. CDI is looking for more opportunities to partner with organizations, particularly at a national level, so all Kimball Midwest associates can take pride in the investments we are making within our broader communities.
Kimball Midwest has made significant progress with our CDI efforts in 2020, and we look forward to growing in 2021 and beyond. If you know of an organization that might be interested in a community partnership, .