How Law Firms Can Embrace Diversity: Part Two
And Why They Need To
In our ongoing discussion about diversity in law, we’ve covered the present reality and the systemic forces that keep diversity numbers low at law firms. In this piece, I will discuss the benefits to your company of committing to diversity. In our last installment, next week, we will identify some valuable approaches and solutions to get you started on making critical changes at your firm.
It’s valuable to start this discussion by asking: why should your firm make diversity a priority? To me, it’s an ethical imperative (and an increasingly crucial road to more business success). It’s something that gets beyond the industry. It’s our duty to society. If we’re not striving to make the world a better place, what are we really doing?
I believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt, and if you’ve been reading along, my guess is you care deeply about this topic, like myself. Furthermore, I believe most of us understand the problem beyond the surface level and have a natural inclination toward the greater good. In a vacuum, I don’t doubt that we’d all make the right decision and our industry would be perfectly equitable.
I’m also an entrepreneur and understand that any major changes need to make business sense. That’s not cynical either. It’s reality, and a balance we have to strike daily. What good does a diversity program do if the business doesn’t sustain?
That’s a bit of a straw man, but we’re always guarding against an uncertain future, so let me make the business case about why your firm needs to embrace diversity.
Inclusivity is good for all. It creates a culture of openness that allows all people to be their true selves at work. What a huge step into making authenticity a central part of your business and one that has truly transformative potential. When your people are comfortable to be themselves, it will show in their work, it will show in better outcomes, it will show in success. What’s more, inclusivity sends a powerful message to clients about your company and your values, making your organization more attractive to a wider network of businesses.
Cultivating different backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences adds value. When you have a team full of unique viewpoints and opinions, it can improve problem solving and conflict resolution, hone your messaging internally and market-facing, spur creativity, and drive innovation. In today’s world, if you are pushing forward with a homogeny of perspectives and opinions, your firm is likely doomed. Our economy is global now, and increasingly, so is our culture. Your team needs to be reflective of this reality, not just for the sake of diversity, but to ensure success well into the future.
It allows you to recruit better talent. Diversity is rightfully becoming a sincere societal value, especially with millennials. If your company puts diversity at the core of its culture and recruiting policy, you’re sure to have an easier time recruiting top, young talent. The present reality is that company culture and values matter more to today’s workforce than in any previous generation. If you want your company at the forefront, embrace diversity. Internally, strong diversity practice can open the eyes of your recruiting team. Oftentimes, we get so bogged down in our ways that we don’t know what we don’t know. We think we’re casting a wide net when we’re fishing in a tide pool. Diversity breaks down the systemic barriers that we didn’t realize were holding our firm back, and limiting eminently qualified candidates.
There’s a lot of great literature out there on strategies for improving your diversity policies and making it a priority. For your efforts to succeed, it not only needs to be sincere, but you’ll need an implementation plan that works for your business. If handled right, it could be a great benefit to your organization, and society. This is a topic that inspires me daily, and I’m looking forward to continuing our discussion in next week’s final installment. For further research on fostering diversity, check out the free downloadable materials available from Authentic Enterprises: http://www.authenticconversationsaboutrace.com/