Moore or Less: Pledge to Make Diversity and Inclusion an Integral Part of Your Firm

Contributed by Matt Armanino, CEO of Armanino and Vice Chair of the Moore North America Board

MOORE-or-Less_NEW-Moore-Brand.jpgFor years, we’ve taken a lot of pride in the kind of culture we’ve built at Armanino. It’s an open, innovative, entrepreneurial place where we value good ideas from all our people alike, regardless of their title or background. Part of having a culture like that also means understanding we all have blind spots and can always be better.
 
That’s why last year, I signed the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion Pledge on behalf of our firm. Started by PwC, the pledge is the largest CEO-driven commitment to advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace. I believe that diversity and inclusion are important on a human level. As the leader of an organization, I feel a deep responsibility to create opportunities for all and a workplace that values respect and fairness. As firms, employers and businesses, we have the potential to affect change with initiatives like the Diversity & Inclusion Pledge. When differences are accepted—and encouraged—we create stronger teams, and it benefits the firm and overall culture. While our firm’s values have always aligned with the idea of diversity and inclusion, this commitment brings a level of intentionality to our actions.
 
Diversity and inclusion aren’t just boxes to check or a recruiting function for HR to worry about, but a way of thinking and a long-term process that becomes innate in our core values.  We do not seek to achieve diversity for its own sake, but to benefit from the learnings that result in working in diverse teams.
 
In the same way that an inclusive workplace positively impacts culture and idea generation, it also makes business sense. When we leverage our differences, it adds another layer of firepower to organizations.  Inclusive diversity means having a true cornucopia of experiences and perspectives that will give your firm a 360-degree view of every engagement, policy, business offering or firm wide initiative.
 
The research is there. The Boston Consulting Group published results from a study that showed diverse management teams produce 19% higher revenues due to innovation. This gives diverse organizations a huge advantage over those that are not. McKinsey made available a full report detailing the relationship that links diversity to positive financial performance. Gender diverse executive teams were 21% more likely to enjoy above-average profitability. This is also reflected in ethnic and cultural diversity, where diverse executive teams were 33% more likely to see more profitability.
 
Look at today’s workforce: the oldest millennials are now in their mid-30s; and every day, we welcome new members of Generation Z into the workplace. These are the most diverse generations in history, and nearly half of millennials report diversity and inclusion are an important factor when considering taking a new job. If your firm isn’t responding to the needs of today’s workforce, they’ll seek out a firm where they feel valued and included.
 
Speaking of inclusion, it’s a critical piece to this formula. Diversity without inclusion is ineffective and creates tension. Exclusion leads to groupthink, which can be poisonous to the long-term success of any organization. When you include a variety of voices, with different life experiences, perspectives and thought processes, you create a multi-dimensional setting with more possibilities and better outcomes. We need to listen to all the voices within our organizations and create cultures where everyone can bring their whole self to the workplace and feel empowered to make an impact.
 
Armanino launched the Inclusive and Diverse Employees and Leaders (IDEAL) Team for that exact purpose. The group meets monthly to think about the changes we can undertake at a firm-level. They have hosted events, such as Unconscious Bias training and The Day of Understanding. The IDEAL Team’s goal is to go beyond programming, however, to affect the ways we think about diversity and inclusion holistically.
 
Sometimes, that means having uncomfortable, but important conversations. The Day of Understanding (part of the CEO Action Pledge) challenges companies to facilitate complex conversations about diversity and inclusion. The day encourages ongoing dialogue, building trust, compassion and open-mindedness.
 
Getting serious about diversity and inclusion is necessary and rewarding, and I am honored to invite all of my Moore North America colleagues to join me in taking the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion Pledge. Visit ceoaction.com and join us in leveraging our differences to create better and stronger workplaces.