Engineering Inc. - January/February 2015 - (Page 12)

The busINEss Case for Diversity By Samuel Greengard Not just an honorable objective- but produces bottom-line benefits "The idea of what diversity is and why it is important has changed," says Shirley Davis, president and CEO of SDS Global Enterprises, a consulting firm that focuses on preparing firms for the 21st-century workforce. "The focus is no longer on the narrow idea of hiring women and people of color. It's about reflecting broader thinking based on our backgrounds, beliefs, preferences and behaviors." The new diverse workforce spans gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability 12 ENGINEERING INC. jaNuaRy / fEbRuaRy 2015 and more. "Firms should pay attention to diversity because it brings differences of opinion and more importantly, experiences, which leads to innovation," says Nadine Vogel, president and founder of Springboard Consulting. At the intersection of good intentions and good business practices lies the arduous task of understanding what diversity means for a firm, how to hire and retain candidates with the skills and mind-sets required for the modern era, and how to put employees on a career path that empowers them to make progressively larger contributions to the firm's book of business. While there's no template for success for workplace diversity, consultants, human resources directors and other experts say firms need to develop a strategy for getting the most out of a richer, increasingly vast and widely experienced talent pool. Defining Diversity A starting point for any discussion about diversity is to understand what the term means. In a corporate context, it traditionally revolves around molding a workforce to better reflect the demographics of society. The concept encompasses everything from the positions people hold and the responsibilities they possess to the pay they receive. Make no mistake; the composition of society is undergoing significant change. In 1980, only 20 percent of the U.S. population was non-white. By 2010, the figure had jumped to 33 percent, and by 2040 it's predicted that half of the population will be C.J. BurTon D iversity is often framed within the context of hiring more women and minorities-a noble cause that benefits individuals and society. But there's a side of the equation that too often escapes business leaders: A diverse workforce better equips a business to deal with today's global, highly connected and complex business environment.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Engineering Inc. - January/February 2015

Engineering Inc. - January/February 2015
From Acec to You
Legislative Action
Market Watch
The Business Case for Diversity
Closing the Gender Gap
Market Stability Keeping Pli Prices Low
2015 Legislative Scorecard
Made to Market
2014 Fall Conference Highlights
2015 Annual Convention Preview
Risk Management
Business Insights
Members in the News
Mergers and Acquisitions

Engineering Inc. - January/February 2015