Q: I am interested in learning more about how diversity and inclusion efforts can improve my business outcomes. Can you provide some local resources?
A: You are correct in believing that diversity and inclusion efforts (D&I) can have an impact on your business. The business case ranges from the simple — your employees look like customers and suppliers and, therefore, provide a comfort level for those who work with your company — to the less obvious — diverse teams, when managed well, outperform homogeneous teams.
The Twin Cities region has a large number of resources available for businesses and organizations of all sizes. Here are a few of them:
Twin Cities Diversity Roundtable is a volunteer membership group of human resources and D&I professionals who meet six times a year to discuss common issues. The members themselves are aware of and have used many more additional resources than we can list here.
The YWCA’s It’s Time to Talk: Forums on Race luncheon occurs each fall and packs 1,000-plus people into the Minneapolis Convention Center ballroom for a keynote presentation and intense conversation. Outside of the annual lunch, the YWCA has expert facilitators to help have these conversations in individual workplaces. They also offer assistance and facilitation with the Intercultural Development Inventory, a tool to help individuals and groups understand their cultural competence.
There are many professional groups with local chapters and expertise in how to advance professionals of color. These range from the Black MBA Association to Prospanica and the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting.
There are also local chapters for human resource professionals, such as the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), and those working in the training and development field, like the Association for Training and Development (ATD).
The Forum on Workplace Inclusion, a program from the University of St. Thomas, runs the country’s largest D&I conference every spring. With major keynote speakers, almost 100 workshops, coaching and a large resource expo, it has been cited as the best place in the nation for receiving a D&I education.
Steve Humerickhouse is the executive director for the Forum on Workplace Inclusion at the University of St. Thomas.