Interview with David A. Turner at Phi Beta Sigma

Earlier this month, we interviewed the International 1st Vice president of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, David A Turner. He talks about Phi Beta Sigma, how the Fraternity supports and implements diversity and Inclusion, the start of the Fraternity, and why he enjoys working with us at PDN.

What tangible goals does the organization have surrounding diversity, equity, and Inclusion? Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc empowers Generations of Men to Believe in Advocacy, Community Service, and Engagement. The tangible impacts of our work are achieved through our national programs of Bigger & Better Business, Education, and Social Action. Further support is provided through our affiliated entities:  Phi Beta Sigma Federal Credit Union, Sigma Beta Club Foundation, SigmaPAC 1914 (Political Action & Advocacy), and PBS Impact Foundation Inc (Charitable). What do you do through your programs through your organization to help push the ideas of diversity and Inclusion?    In the area of Bigger & Better Business, the Fraternity has committed to advancing African-American-owned businesses, with our chapters logging more than $4.9M in “Black Spend” in 2021. In August 2021, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated announced a groundbreaking partnership with Operation HOPE’s national One Million Black Business Initiative (1MBB). Phi Beta Sigma’s commitment includes supporting the creation of 1000 Black entrepreneurs and business owners by 2030, with a focus on leveraging its 580 active chapters throughout the US and abroad. HOPE and Phi Beta Sigma will leverage the Fraternity’s 250,000 servant leaders to further its mission of inclusiveness, with a focus on building a supportive ecosystem for Black entrepreneurs. 
Through our Education national program, the Fraternity provides scholarships to underprivileged youth pursuing higher education. One such scholarship is the James Weldon Johnson Scholarship, available through NAACP’s Inspire Initiatives. Funded by the Fraternity, the scholarship honors Sigma Brother James Weldon Johnson, a long-time NAACP member and Executive Director of the NAACP from 1920-to 1930. Johnson was a leader, civil rights activist, writer, educator, lawyer, journalist, and a leading figure in the creation and development of the Harlem Renaissance. Through our scholarship programs, we advance efforts to ensure equity in educational opportunities that prepare students for success in school, work, and life. Our chapters also partner with the Sigma Beta Club Foundation, providing mentorship to young men ages 8-18 during the most critical stages of their personal development. 
Finally, through our Social Action program, we promote awareness of health, political, and community issues across marginalized populations by providing advocacy and resources. Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity has partnered with the National Institutes of Health All of Us Research Program to build one of the most diverse health databases in history. The All of Us Research Program is an ambitious effort to gather health data from one million or more people living in the United States to accelerate research that may improve health. Where we live, how we live, and our background can affect our health. By studying data from diverse people, researchers can learn more about what makes people sick or keeps them healthy. What researchers know could lead to better treatment and disease prevention for all of us. 

How do you celebrate the diversity of ideas and people?
As an organization, we first seek to educate and bring awareness to the struggles of historically disenfranchised groups and respect for cultural diversity. Among other strategies, this includes public recognition and education on cultural and religious observations and times of historical appreciation and remembrances.

Being a greek organization established during a time that endured high amounts of racism, how did Phi Beta Sigma combat such issues, and how did you spread awareness throughout the campus?
The founding members of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity desired to create an organization that viewed itself as a part of” the general community; they believed that each potential member should be judged by his own merits, rather than his family background or affluence and without regard to race, nationality, skin tone or texture of hair. Further, the Founders conceived Phi Beta Sigma as a mechanism to deliver services to the general community. Rather than gaining skills to be utilized exclusively for themselves and their immediate families, they held a deep conviction that they should return their newly acquired skills to the communities from which they had come. This deep conviction was mirrored in the Fraternity’s motto, “Culture For Service and Service For Humanity.”

What tip would you give to emerging professionals about influencing DE&I strategies?
As a leader, I expect DEI professionals to clearly understand and communicate the connection between DEI and our organization’s mission. In doing so, recognize that alignment with our organization’s core values is crucial. Translate DEI initiatives into everyday language, focusing on the impact on real people and aligning with our core values.

Why did your company choose to work with PDN? 
PDN was a natural partner for Phi Beta Sigma. Like the Fraternity, PDN is an established and progressive leader in its industry.  

What has been the most significant benefit of working with PDN?
With an expert team and established corporate relationships to complement our own, this partnership has greatly benefited our membership and the communities we serve.  

Indicators That A Company Values Diversity and Inclusion

There has been much conversation lately about diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Businesses across the country are wondering if they are hitting the mark.

On the surface, your organization may appear to be a great example of diversity and inclusion. Perhaps you notice employees of various ages, races, and genders working side by side. They seem to get along well enough and may even have lunch together at times. So you may feel confident that you can check off “yes” to both diversity and inclusion. 

But as with anything, there is always more than meets the eye. How can you know if all of your employees feel valued, heard, and respected? How can you know if you are doing everything possible to enable that reality and are developing the potential of each individual? 

The value of diversity and inclusion impacts not only each employee but the company as a whole. When people feel valued, they work harder and are more committed to the organization. Your business will most likely enjoy improved employee retention, more innovation, and higher profits.

This article will address how an organization can demonstrate that they truly value diversity and inclusion. Read on for some important indicators! Leaders will:

Recruit and hire diverse talent

The diversity of your organization begins with widespread recruiting efforts. It is important to take a close look at your current outreach activities. When businesses partner with diverse communities and professional associations they will naturally attract candidates through these networks. Consider reaching out to agencies, colleges, career centers and geographical areas that provide exposure to diverse populations. Targeted career fairs and diversity branding are also important when attracting a broader talent pool.

Promote pay equity

Managers need to provide fair opportunities for each employee. Organizations must analyze the data to identify which employees are underpaid for similar roles or responsibilities. This information can help identify patterns or trends where particular groups of employees (race, gender, etc.) are being underpaid within certain business areas.

Address unconscious bias

Leaders can help employees understand how others are affected by unconscious bias, and what actions reinforce biases. In many cases, people were raised believing certain stereotypes and never thought to question them or had any awareness that they were incorrect and hurtful.

Google is one example of a company that creatively addresses unconscious bias. They provided staff training aimed at “unbiasing” the workplace, and it sparked many productive internal conversations directed at making positive changes.

Develop a diversity training program

Diversity training is an integral part of creating a healthy and productive workplace. It helps employees understand how cultural differences can impact how we work and interact with others on the job.

It can address anything from communication styles to self-identity to dealing with conflict. It is important to note that diversity training, while encouraged for all, tends to be more effective when it is optional rather than mandatory.

Partnering with a consultant can help mangers build customized training programs for the organization as a whole, as well as for specific functions or departments.

Create more diversity in senior roles

This can be accomplished by providing leadership development programs that are focused on improving D&I.  Diversity talent development expert Sherryl Dimitry states in her report that “simply having more women or minorities in these roles isn’t enough to make diversity stick – it’s more about whether diverse contributions and opinions will be valued, accepted and assimilated into the culture at large.”

Acknowledge holidays of all cultures

A great way to build awareness of diversity and encourage inclusivity is to be aware of the variety religious and cultural holidays. It is important for HR and other leaders to keep track of multicultural religious or holiday celebrations and to be respectful of these days when scheduling meetings, as well as providing flexibility with requests for time off.

Create diverse employee resource groups

It is essential to give everyone a voice and a chance to make an impact. Employee resource groups (ERGs) can be created to address workplace initiatives, and brainstorm more efficient ways to get things done. Often times staff have ground breaking ideas, but many voices go unheard. In addition, these groups encourage connection and belonging.

It is no surprise that diversity in teams positively impacts creativity and innovation. There is such rich value in experiences with multiple perspectives, which inspires new ways of thinking and different approaches to solving problems.

Invite ongoing feedback

It is critical to have a vehicle in place for employees to express their concerns and ideas. If that is lacking, morale can really take a hit. Organizations need to encourage staff feedback to get a better understanding of what is going on under the surface.

Distributing pulse surveys across the workforce will enable leaders to make smarter decisions and reduce or eliminate any patterns of discrimination or biases within the organization. Anonymous feedback can help build a case to take action on smaller, more immediate issues as well as inform long-term strategies.

Assess company policies

Employers need to be keenly aware of areas in the business where discrimination seems to exist. Company policies and interpersonal interactions play a key role in either solving or perpetuating problems. A primary reason why employees leave an organization is a result of poor interpersonal interactions.

It is important for leaders to determine whether policies enable or perpetuate discrimination in the workplace, such as racism or sexism, and make modifications to address these issues.

Support With Your D & I Efforts

Professional Diversity Network can help you transform your diversity efforts. Our expert compliance and auditing team will provide you with customized services to ensure you meet the OFCCP and EEO regulations. In addition, as the leader in diversity job distribution and reporting, we can connect you with a large, talented population of job seekers. Reach out today; we would love to partner with you.

The ROI on D&I: How Diversity Increases Revenue

The business world has changed. Massive societal shifts, rapid innovation, and a global pandemic have created an entirely new landscape for companies. In the wake of these changes, customers, partners, employees, and investors demand greater transparency and accountability from companies on their sustainability, social impact, and governance. Proving your commitment to diversity and inclusion is an essential part of the new rhythm of business.

But many companies still think of diversity and inclusion as business requirements or boxes to check. Diversity and inclusion are catalysts for business success. Time and again, studies have found that diversity increases revenue. The Boston Consulting Group found that companies with more diverse leadership teams have 19% higher revenues. Another study showed that hiring more female leaders leads to greater profitability. Even cities with a larger population of high-skilled immigrants tend to have increased innovation and greater economic performance. Diversity is just good business.

Diverse problems need diverse perspectives.

Innovation is a powerful differentiator and revenue driver; it helps businesses find creative solutions to problems and nurture new ideas that give them a competitive edge. Diversity is an enabler of innovation. More diverse teams can quickly adapt to new challenges, consider problems from multiple angles, and stress-test multiple solutions – leading to a better thought-out solution. One study showed that more diverse groups make fewer factual errors because they can avoid the potential biases of more homogenous groups and tend to be more careful and thorough in their analyses. 

Considering diverse perspectives also helps companies understand multiple groups and avoid bias in their end products and services, enabling them to build solutions that address the needs of more people. And this includes branding and marketing. In a multicultural, multi-gendered global society, being diverse in your branding helps you resonate with a broader audience. With diversity in mind, not only can companies bring more innovative solutions to the market, but they can tap into new segments of the market, unlocking more significant revenue potential. Consider this: by 2065, America will have no ethnic majority. To continue to be relevant and grow revenue year over year, companies must embrace the plurality of the new world. 

Inclusion helps diverse teams thrive.

Inclusion is fundamental to developing a growth mindset culture and unlocking the true potential of diversity. Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck coined the concept of “growth mindset” as the idea that one can grow their capacities, understanding, and skills over time. Having a growth mindset is an essential factor in a company’s success, and many companies, like Microsoft, have embraced and adapted to the concept. The collective intellectual power of a diverse team needs to be fostered and embraced through an open and inclusive culture – one that incentivizes teams to reflect those same values. Inclusion has been shown to improve performance by up to 30% in diverse teams. 

Companies that neglect to nurture an inclusive environment can leave their employees feeling unseen, unheard, and afraid to ask questions—the Achilles’ heel of productivity. Inclusion enables openness, curiosity, and authenticity, which create an environment for more productive conversations, quicker response times, improved team cooperation, and happier employees. Studies have shown that high-performing teams need psychological safety to build trust, get inspired, and be creative. Unconscious bias, for example, is a learned assumption that we aren’t always aware that we have. It can perpetuate stereotypes and limit new ways of thinking. Embedding diversity and inclusion in a culture encourages employees to listen actively, recognize their biases, question their assumptions, think in new and different ways, and embrace a growth mindset.

Additionally, inclusion is vital to the mental health of employees. It helps reduce the anxiety that comes from interpersonal risk-taking and ensures that employees feel safe, engaged, and welcome. And happier employees are more productive employees.

Embrace conscious consumerism 

Many modern consumers are conscious of companies’ social impact and use it to decide purchasing decisions. They expect companies to advance global change – from addressing racial injustices to being leaders in diversity and inclusion. While this is not a new concept, technology has amplified the impacts of conscious consumerism. Finding a more conscious alternative or switching to a new brand is just a few clicks away. Nowadays, consumers are four to six times more likely to purchase, trust, and advocate for purpose-driven companies. Companies that uphold their values and commitments during hard times, like during a global pandemic, tend to be in an even better position.

Brands that capitalize on these consumer expectations will increase trust with their customers, gain the loyalty of their customers, strengthen their brand, improve their stock performance, and increase their revenue. Purpose-driven consumers are even willing to pay a premium to patronize companies that align with their values. Being transparent about progress and growth in diversity and inclusion is vital to prove a positive impact. Meanwhile, companies that don’t embrace diversity and inclusion – or work against the changing status-quo – are at risk of making a costly mistake and losing customers. Though no one is immune to cancel culture, actively showing progress towards building and embracing diversity can significantly de-risk the business. Consistent reporting on these metrics will help maintain consumer trust and give customers an “insider” understanding of the company’s response efforts. And the more you work towards diversity, equity, and inclusion, the better you’ll understand your business’s expectations and blind spots.

The bottom line

I think we can agree that the results speak for themselves. Diversity and inclusion is not a trending workplace initiative. It is a permanent and necessary shift in workplace dynamics that will improve companies’ health and economics. By honestly embracing diversity and inclusion at all levels, companies will avoid the dangers of conformity. Diversity of minds, backgrounds, genders, political views and ethnicities is critical in building a solid business, innovating and adapting with the times, and increasing revenue. By creating an inclusive culture to support the changing dynamics, companies will be able to experience the genuinely transformative power of diversity.

Interested in creating a more diverse and inclusive workforce at your company? The Professional Diversity Network has been helping employers build productive and diverse workforces since 2003. Contact us today to find out how we can help with your unique recruitment needs.

Why a D&I Workforce is Essential

Diversity and Inclusion also referred to as D&I, has become the hottest trend in human resources across the country. 

Over the last few years, especially, there has been a much-needed corporate renaissance – companies are recognizing the pivotal role they can play in improving social inequities and empowering individuals in marginalized communities.  

While some of the largest corporations are taking the initiative to become more diverse and inclusive, many more are still on the fence about the concrete benefits of building a diverse and inclusive workforce. 

Fortunately, there is a wealth of new data available that makes a case for D&I, and in this article, we’ll share the core reasons why having a diverse and inclusive workforce is essential for your company’s well-being. 

What is Diversity and Inclusion?

Before diving in, though, let’s first make sure we’re on the same page about what diversity and Inclusion actually mean. 

As the name implies, diversity in the workplace entails having employees from different and unique backgrounds regarding their race, ethnicity, political beliefs, gender identity, sexual orientation, class, and/or religion. The more people within a firm from these historically marginalized groups, the more technically diverse the company can be considered. 

On the other hand, Inclusion is entirely different and takes the power of diversity to the next level. Creating an inclusive work environment involves implementing company policies that enable every employee, no matter their background, to feel heard, valued, and treated equitably within the office environment.  

A diverse and inclusive workplace is one where, figuratively speaking, every employee is invited to the company retreat and is asked to participate actively. In action, it’s one where employees of different races and genders have active roles in all key departments and upper management of a company. 

As an employer, the goal is to have both elements present in the company’s culture to achieve the best results. 

Increased Innovation 

One of the most significant benefits of building a diverse and inclusive workforce is the increased level of innovation. 

Business innovation is the key to any company’s success, especially in the ever-changing environment we’re in today, where technology has the power to uproot entire industries. Who can forget how Uber and Lyft upended the taxicab industry. 

Innovation requires people from diverse racial, gender, and educational backgrounds to come together, offer their perspectives on a problem from multiple angles, and freely brainstorm unique solutions. 

All of which can only occur in a diverse and inclusive environment. Innovation is stifled in a company with a dominant, single culture or background. Staff members in marginalized groups often feel too scared to share their thoughts or opinions for fear of backlash or being ignored altogether. 

By building a diverse and inclusive workplace, you create the building blocks of an innovative company where everyone’s ideas on how to grow the company are equally respected and valued. 

Greater Revenue 

Building a diverse and inclusive workforce is essential for today’s businesses because it leads to more significant revenue and higher earnings. 

Because D&I companies experience greater innovation, they can better solve customer problems and, therefore, be better able to generate sales and revenue. 

As reported by Market Watch, companies with diverse and inclusive environments, on average, generate 19% more in revenue than monocultural organizations. 

Furthermore, it was found that companies with the greatest diversity at the highest levels of upper management achieved 35% higher earnings and 2.3 times higher cash flow than their non-D&I competitors. Even companies with greater representation of women at the executive and C-suite level earned 21% greater profits than majority male organizations. 

Diverse companies are simply better equipped to meet the needs of the increasingly diverse group of consumers that are out there today. Companies that choose to build a diverse and inclusive workforce are therefore making a choice to stay competitive and relevant in the eye of their customers. 

Attract Top Talent 

Incorporating diversity and Inclusion into the workplace is also a modern-day must for companies to attract top talent. Right now, the U.S. is experiencing a most unprecedented phenomenon: employees en masse voluntarily quitting their jobs due to a lack of passion and connection to their work. 

The Great Resignation or the Big Quit, as it has also been called, has shown employers that offering great pay and a benefits package is no longer enough to woo new hires. 

Today, your current and prospective employees have greater expectations. They’re evaluating companies based on the work environment, opportunities for meaningful growth, and the management team’s open-mindedness. 

Diverse and inclusive work environments are inherently inspiring, respectful, and supportive of employees; therefore work very well to attract top-tier talent to any firm. 

Higher Employee Retention 

Along similar lines, studies have shown that diverse and inclusive workplaces have lower employee turnover rates than their counterparts. 

Specifically, it was found that companies with formal D&I policies and programs have 5.4 times greater employee retention

Naturally, when employees within a diverse and inclusive company feel that their opinions are heard, that they are respected and seen as equals, and that their work matters, they’re much more likely to feel connected to the brand and stay with the company for more extended periods. 

Given that nearly 48 percent of the newest generation, Gen-Z, belong to marginalized groups, according to a Pew Research Center report, this trend is only likely to increase even further. A more diverse and inclusivity-conscious workforce will gravitate towards diverse and inclusive companies. 

Thereby making it a near imperative for employers to invest now in building a diverse and inclusive workplace. 

D&I Is the Magic Formula

As the workforce and workplace continue to evolve in the post-COVID climate, it has become essential for companies to restructure their value proposition to employees. 

While the compensation, benefits package, and diversity alone were sufficient offerings years ago, times have quickly changed. 

Diversity and Inclusion are now the new magic formula for your company’s success, as they have been shown to foster the most productive, innovative, attractive, and profitable work environments. 

Interested in creating a more diverse and inclusive workforce at your company? The Professional Diversity Network has been helping employers build productive and diverse workforces since 2003. Contact us today to find out how we can help with your unique recruitment needs.

7 Benefits Of Hiring Veterans

There are around 19 million veterans in the United States, and many of them work at some of the country’s most powerful and influential companies. Others are successful entrepreneurs in their own right. Many veterans have trouble finding jobs or find jobs that don’t match their skill set or allow them to reach their full potential.

The transition from military to civilian life can be challenging, but veterans have a lot to offer in the workplace. Let’s examine why more businesses might want to consider the benefits of hiring veterans.

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3 Key Steps To Starting A Diversity And Inclusion Program In The Workplace

It is no secret that diversity and inclusion are the pathways to a happy and productive society. And the workplace is a great place to start! 

Employers who understand this have an edge over their competition by respecting the value of all their team members. In return, diverse and inclusive workplaces earn more commitment and trust from their employees.

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Further Reading