Business imperative: when it comes to incorporating multiculturalism, businesses that translate their words into deeds are reaping multiple dividends.

Author:Mead, Chris
 
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Ask yourself these five questions about your business:

1 Do you want to hire the best employees for the job

2 Do you want to retain your brightest talent for the long run?

3 Do you want a productive workforce?

4 Do you want to keep staff morale high?

5 Do you want to send a positive message to your customers or clients?

We'll bet the farm you answered "yes" to each of those questions. Now here's the clincher: what ones single thing can you do to help achieve those goals? Answer: implement a diversity initiative that addresses your business's specific needs.

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OK, maybe we've lost some of you already, especially if you are a small business owner or operator with more pressing issues on your agenda than a "diversity initiative," whatever the heck that is. You may be saying this is just another corporate buzzword. Or this is only something that "big guys" need to worry about. Or something you just can't afford.

In fact,, you can't afford NOT to address the issues of diversity and multiculturalism in a global economy, regardless of the size or type of your business. Businesses across Southeast Michigan are getting that message, but those that are the most serious--and reaping the greatest returns-are those that embrace diversity as a bottom-line imperative and have a specific plan of action, not just a policy statement or a "diversity committee" that meets now and then. Here's a look at three of them in the fields of law, accounting and construction:

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Warner Norcross & Judd LLP

Law firm with offices in Southfield and four other Michigan cities.

Two years ago WNJ took its commitment to diversity to a whole new level by appointing its first official Diversity Partner. This challenging role went to Randy Martin, a 27-year veteran with the firm and chair of its Financial Services Group.

"We went from using a Diversity Committee that met once or twice or month to having somebody with day-to-day operational responsibility for achieving the firm's goals, "says Martin. "And that, combined with very strong support from the managing partner and management committee, has given me the ability to move things along more quickly than they might otherwise. Committees are good at talking about things, but not implementing out."

Armed with buy-in from senior management, Martin developed a communication plan that includes a Diversity Annual Report detailing the progress WNJ is making on its goals to make the firm a more...

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