In addition to their revenue margins and growth, businesses also need to put an emphasis on their overall goodwill. While having an inclusive and diverse workforce is not a quota a company needs to meet, they should try to work towards it as a social responsibility, as well as to cater to the clients and customers in a more competent manner. Audrey Gellman mentions that the lack of focus on diversity in the hiring and training processes can result in a company losing important employees. Hence, CEOs should maintain a certain level of thoughtfulness towards the direction of company growth, and walk on a path that helps them to have a more diverse workforce.
The overall advantages of having a diverse workforce are immense. It significantly helps in improving workplace productivity, company culture, employee retention, as well as fight biases. However, reaching this stage is not easy. Audrey Gellman mentions that there are various measures a CEO must take to see to it that not only their hiring and training processes support diversity, but also that their staff members adequately abide by this culture and treat one another appropriately.
Even though Gellman’s company started off well, and had both a diverse employee base and customers, there still were a lot of gaps that needed to be filled. Investing more in diverse hiring practices, as well as focusing more on diversity and inclusion training would have fared better for the business. Moreover, it is also important to understand that as a CEO, one needs to set proper expectations among team members and staff when it comes to how they treat each other. While the society has surely become more aware and open-minded in regards to diversity, there are prejudices that are prevalent even today. Being a woman CEO, Audrey Gellman herself has witnessed a number of biases and prejudices. One of the most common biases seen in the business world is in the funding of women-owned businesses. Men often have a much better chance of getting adequate investment for their company than women. Moreover, even if women manage to acquire the needed funds, they have to deal with extremely high expectations associated with it.
One of the core missions of Audrey Gellman’s company was to create a community network for women to gather and connect. To fill the gaps in regards to diversity hiring and improve their workplace culture, she and her team went on to conduct tours of their office to gain a better understanding of the changes desired by the community members and employees. The insights garnered through these discussions lead to the creation of a formal culture code for the firm. Its leadership team was also expanded to include more women of color. This whole process can severe as a learning experience for other CEOs, and encourage them to both admit and address their weak points in regards to having a diverse workplace and take steps to improve on it.