February brought the annual celebration of Black History Month (BHM) worldwide. Companies demonstrated their commitment to diversity and inclusion (D&I) in many ways, including highlighting influential and inspirational black colleagues, holding celebratory events and engaging in meaningful conversations through table talks and webinars.
These activities and discussions should, however, not end with the month. To make progress on nurturing diversity and inclusion in the workplace, companies need to go beyond honoring an affinity group for a single month and engage in these efforts all year long.
Dedicated D&I efforts deliver a range of powerful outcomes to businesses – from fostering an environment where different perspectives are appreciated and driving innovation to faster problem solving and creating employment loyalty.
Workplaces that have already adopted D&I programs reap powerful benefits. They’re seeing improved quality of applicants, reduced training costs, increased employee commitment, loyalty and innovation and increased employee retention.
According to a Glassdoor survey, 67 percent of job seekers consider workplace diversity an important factor when considering employment opportunities, and more than 50 percent of current employees want their workplace to do more to increase diversity.
Tracking Progress Beyond Black History Month Celebrations
As a company committed to delivering excellence, Tech Data believes D&I in our global workforce produces more innovative results and provides a competitive advantage. The collaboration, different perspectives and backgrounds help make Tech Data successful.
To nurture D&I in the workplace and to track progress beyond this year’s Black History Month (BHM) celebrations, we talked to Tech Data’s Supervisor of Talent Acquisition, Desmond Whitney, who is also the chair of the company’s black Business Resource Group (BRG), Beacon.
Authority: How does Tech Data nurture D&I in the workplace?
Desmond: Tech Data offers different programs to execute our D&I mission because we know that by embracing the diversity of our colleagues around the globe and cultivating an environment of inclusion, we enrich our company, culture and communities.
We have five BRGs – Elevate (dedicated to empowering women), Spectrum (dedicated to promoting a safe and welcoming environment for LGBTQ+), Beacon (dedicated to supporting the recruitment, retention, enablement and advancement of black colleagues), Tech Data Patriots (dedicated to developing a deeper understanding of the needs and capabilities of veterans, active service personnel and military families), and Fuerza (committed to empowering the Hispanic/Latin community).
These BRGs help bring colleagues together to embrace our differences and celebrate our similarities. As an organization, we participate in community programs to expose our colleagues to different cultures which contributes to their professional development while simultaneously providing community support through education, philanthropy and volunteerism.
Authority: Tell us more about the Beacon BRG and its role in supporting black colleagues.
Desmond: Launched in November 2017, Beacon acts as a change agent to foster inclusiveness and meaningful interactions between all levels of Tech Data’s employees, the industry and the community.
Since its inception, the group has held several events including lunch and learn series and community engagements. For this year’s Black History Month, , we hosted a number of events and created dialogue with our colleagues about the importance of observing this month and remembering inspirational black figures throughout history.
Authority: What is your role as the chair of Beacon?
Desmond: My role is to partner with senior leaders, human resources and all colleagues – of the affinity and allies – to drive recruitment, engagement, retention and development of black colleagues and to drive positive awareness for Tech Data within the Black Community.
Authority: How has Beacon contributed to the success of Tech Data?
Desmond: Tech Data’s success is predicated on driving higher value, speed, efficiency, creativity, execution and service excellence. Within the affinity, we bring all of these and more to the table. We’ve educated colleagues through a lunch and learn series and helped develop the colleague population as well. I believe all of those reasons help elevate Tech Data’s ability to succeed in the fast-paced, dynamic market in which we operate.
Authority: How can a company leverage a diverse global workforce for business success?
Desmond: We must have various ways of looking at problems and providing solutions, especially in a service-oriented and consultative business. Higher value is driven through people, not product, and therefore businesses need the best and brightest people of all genders, races, ages, backgrounds, so that they can better retain, maintain and grow.
Authority: How does a diverse global workforce help drive innovation and why is it important?
Desmond: Innovation comes from having various creative ideas and if you only have one way of thinking, then the creativity will become stale. Having a global, diverse workforce brings an abundance of perspectives, which drives innovation and improves competitiveness in a global marketplace.
Authority: Finally, what does BHM mean and why are the celebrations important?
Desmond: Black History Month means the acknowledgment and celebration of the contributions of all black people. The celebrations are important because it affirms the contributions of black people and helps everyone learn, know and understand the value of their contributions, as we are all impacted by them daily. Additionally, I believe it helps people in learning more about each other so that we can better understand, work with, live and thrive as a community and as a company.
To learn more about Tech Data’s diversity and inclusion programs and join the ranks of diverse colleagues who are connecting the world with the power of technology, click here.
About the Author
Emah Madegwa is a Digital Communications Manager for Tech Data in Clearwater, Florida. She leads the social and web-based marketing communications strategies in support of amplifying the Tech Data brand, increasing user engagement through social and digital tools, and deriving insights to help optimize communication strategies across the Americas region. Prior to joining Tech Data, Emah worked as a communications specialist in the IT and bio-pharma industries and for the United Nations (UN). Emah’s background and profile can found on LinkedIn.