Today, most companies that directly impact the global economy have dealt with several external factors that impede their proper performance. The global pandemic of COVID-19 has become one of the most significant tests for organizations in which they are forced to maintain the existing relationship between their employees and consumers; in addition to this, they must deal with the interruption of the broad scope of its operations and rethink the commercial and financial strategies of its business lines.
It is not surprising that the pandemic brought a series of economic complications, especially for companies that have been affected by the decline in their sales or supplies, which could stop operating permanently; at least 70% of them were affected by this event.
Strengthening equality of opportunity
Plurality is present at all points of life; it is a generator of agreements and disagreements because it represents one of our society’s most critical recent conflicts. Any plurality: ethnic, cultural, or sexual, involves solidarity and respect for differences. Gender equality allows the community to enjoy the same rights, responsibilities, and opportunities as women and men. Equality does not mean that men and women are the same, but rights, duties, and opportunities cannot depend on sex.
For its part, the Citigroup company, which offers financial services such as credit, consumer banking, and brokerage, among others, and currently operates in more than 160 countries, has demonstrated to place equality of opportunity, responsibility, and transparency at the center of all its activities. They show that it is crucial that each company member should be directly involved and responsible for advancing inclusion and diversity (I&D). Citigroup had gone from 8 percent gender diversity on its executive team in 2014 to over 50.8 percent in 2019-2020, and 24 percent of its managing directors are female (633 women).
The organization works with external suppliers to implement objectives and decide the availability of non-majority ingenuity with the use of location to counteract the myth of the scarcity of originality; in turn, it makes use of a heat map showing how the various zones remain trending in order both to increase transparency and to generate a bit of healthy competition.
Citigroup focuses on three key areas to achieve proper I&D: recruitment, development, retention, and promotion pathways and processes; these three aspects have been allowed the organization to secure talent in the hiring processes and argue that it is focused on intensifying the focus on building an inclusive workplace.
In other words, Citigroup believes that creating diversity and inclusive culture is the responsibility of all of its employees, not just those who identify with a particular gender, ethnicity, or affinity, for which the company has invested mainly in the “implicit association test (IAT) training” and “affinity groups” with the primary objective that the employees do not avoid difficult or uncomfortable conversations, but speak openly.
The Citigroup company is evident that when it comes to I&D, it must address everyone who is part of the system because this encompasses all aspects of the organization.
Building an inclusive culture
Nowadays, the inclusive culture in executive teams strongly correlates with profitability and value creation; principles such as respect, human value, and consideration allow the acceptance of all people’s different perspectives, styles, and needs.
It is relevant for today’s businesses to attract, develop and retain a workforce that reflects the diversity of the communities in which they operate. This is crucial because having diversity within their teams will engage employees better, understand and serve customers, strengthen the employer brand, and generate creative ideas.
Related to this, the Pentair company, which focuses on global water and liquid thermal management and equipment protection, offers industry-leading products, services, and solutions; this organization puts special attention on constructing an inclusive culture because it represents a business opportunity for adopting a contemporary “Identification vision.” Pentair focuses on generating a greater focus on company culture, where it creates a space in which employees can leverage their unique strengths and work in the ways that best suit them, regardless of the vast diversity that exists, encompassing the race, gender, ethnicity, country of origin, age, personal style, sexual orientation, physical ability, religion and life experiences.
The company argues that I&D is not just about setting goals and having women in charge of essential operations, but also involves an education process in which the primary focus is on developing a commitment to building a right to gain culture and values that create an environment, where employees with different perspectives can adapt without dramatically changing their thoughts and diverse experiences within the group.
In this context, the organization takes an integrated approach to support and promote workplace I&D based on the following three pillars: talent acquisition and implementation represents a focus on fair hiring practices at all levels, and developing and retaining diverse talent for leadership roles involves an approach that includes leadership development on professional development programs. From this perspective, the company benefits from supporting families by providing a work-life balance, finally leading diverse teams. The main objective is to cultivate an environment that values the differences between employees and allows for equity and cultural inclusion based on personal values.
Pentair is aware that it is challenging to get time to get people involved in the I&D issue. However, they consider it worthwhile to create an environment where diversity and an inclusive workforce bring different perspectives and creative ideas to improve every day. In 2020, Pentair undertook several initiatives providing additional resources and tools to employees, including:
‒ The creation of the Inclusion and Diversity Executive Leadership Council;
‒ Delivered Inclusive Leadership education to approximately 500 managers in the U.S.; creating a plan to cascade Inclusive Leadership education to managers outside the U.S. beginning in 2021;
‒ Integrated inclusion and diversity priorities into broad corporate communications to the organization, including an I&D educational hub on their employee intranet;
‒Established two employee-led business resource groups: the Women’s Resource Group and the Black Employee Network; and
‒Facilitated parenting support circles to support family care and work-life balance challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The recognition and acceptance of diversity is an enriching and personal growth element that allows individuals and communities to have participation and commitment to cultural transformation, as well as the policies and practices of the institutions. An inclusive culture is one of the pillars that organizations should implement to generate social construction processes that help fight inequality. The examples show that I&D works.
It must be based on inclusive values where the cultural enrichment of the individuals that make up the organizations is fostered through respect for diversity, exchange, and dialogue. Today the inclusive culture represents a corporate plan that focuses on cultivating and supporting the workforces within the institutions to encourage the participation of all employees, regardless of their origins, ways of thinking, and personal decisions, in a way that is appropriately implemented, organizations will benefit from the right talent to push them to new limits.
Citigroup Inc. (2020). Diversity Annual Report: Citigroup.
Citigroup Inc. (2020). Our Ongoing Talent and. Talent Diversity Annual Report, 06-07.
Pentair Inc. (2020). Building a Culture of Inclusion and Diversity. 2020 Corporate Responsibility Report, 55.
Pentair Inc. (2020). Our Impact: Pentair Inc.