HOW DIVERSITY STRENGTHENS YOUR FRANCHISE: Inclusion and integration bring key connections to your franchise.

Author:Graves, Don

Diversity and inclusion matter. In the franchising world, diversity and inclusion can enhance franchisee recruiting and improve overall business performance. And it's not just our own experience that tells us diversity and inclusion accelerate business results. There is a wealth of data and research available on the benefits for companies to build a more diverse workforce and leadership team, as well as steps to build a more diverse culture.

For example, in early 2018, McKinsey & Company issued an update to their 2015 study Diversity Matters. Looking at businesses in the United States and globally, the 2018 McKinsey study, Delivering through Diversity, strengthens the case that diversity is linked to company financial performance. McKinsey found that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity were 21 percent more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the bottom quartile of diversity. In addition, McKinsey found that companies with stronger ethnic and cultural diversity were 33 percent more likely to out-perform companies lacking ethnic and cultural diversity. (1)

The Benefits

And it's not just financial performance where diverse companies have an advantage. Organizations such as Catalyst (, a nonprofit focused on women in the workplace, are helping companies across the country and globally to better understand and demonstrate how diversity positively impacts business results.

From stronger teams to better decision-making, from closer ties with clients and communities to improved employee engagement, diversity and inclusion both matter. But, how does a large company, especially one with operations or franchises across multiple states, build this culture?

At KeyBank, we start with the definition that diversity is who we are; inclusion is what we choose to be. It's about fostering a workplace environment and organizational culture where all people are engaged, valued, supported, respected, affirmed and encouraged to bring their best, authentic selves to work.

Laying the Groundwork

Building a diverse and inclusive company takes focus from executive leadership to develop an intentional strategy. There are several steps a company can take to lay the groundwork towards building a robust strategy. These steps include:

* Get buy-in at all levels of the company. It will take a collective effort to turn the tide.

* Be frank about your diversity numbers. Look at the percentage of gender and minorities in...

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