Diversity is a major priority area for most businesses today, and with good reason.
A recent study by McKinsey found that diverse companies are 35% more likely to outperform their competitors, while 67% of workers consider an employer’s diversity and inclusion model a deciding factor in their job hunt, according to Glassdoor.
The prospects of beating the competition and attracting better talent are highly attractive, but the challenge for most organizations lies in how to increase diversity rapidly, ethically, and effectively, not just internally but also in their CX partnerships.
When customer experience outsourcing partners don’t share the same diversity values as the organization, brand loyalty suffers. It’s important to note that diversity isn’t just about going nearshore or offshore with your CX partnerships, it’s about finding a way to engage with your customer base on every level.
Diversity Champions and Strong Leaders
According to PwC, 76% of businesses classify diversity and inclusion as company values or priority areas, but only 5% claim to have been successful, mainly because they’re failing to empower leaders with the goals and objectives they need to achieve.
Coffee giant Starbucks is a great example of how to do it right. In December 2019, the company enlisted its first global Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer, Nzinga Shaw, who’s been proactively pursuing the goal of creating a more diverse and equitable workplace. The company holds its leaders accountable for achieving equity and diversity, publicly releasing a huge list of objectives they are expected to meet. On top of that, everything is fully transparent, with workforce data readily available and updated regularly.
Starbucks clearly understands the importance of an inclusive culture, investing significant time and resources into maintaining it from the top down. However, for those organizations approaching it with less of a commitment, diversity is either a simple check box that needs filling, or it’s about representing the communities in which they operate, but nothing past that.
These scenarios are especially noticeable in the BPO and CX industry, in which a provider’s location often limits its workforce’s understanding of other communities. With so many contact centers located offshore and nearshore, agent ethnicity is usually dictated by the local majority population. In Latin America, for instance, there are very few non-Latinx agents. The same is true in India or the Philippines, where the overwhelming majority of the workforce is native to each country.
The first step for BPO leaders is really acknowledging the company’s lack of diversity and committing to change. Like Starbucks, they should begin to communicate the facts to their workforce and their clients, sharing data and statistics that accurately reflect the organization’s diversity or lack thereof. Over time, this benchmark data becomes the foundation of a success story, painting a picture of the company’s evolution towards greater equity.
Plugging In Diversity from Outside
The main issue with an unbalanced CX workforce is the inability to relate to or empathize with specific customers. Not only is a diverse team better equipped to connect your customers to your brand, but it’s also essential for fostering innovation and creativity. In a study by Boston Consulting Group, findings showed that companies with high diversity scores reported 19% higher innovation revenues than those with low scores.
In an attempt to capitalize on these gains and quickly increase diversity, some organizations are simply outsourcing customer services to offshore and nearshore locations and calling it a day, but what many companies don’t realize is that onshore, domestic, affordable, highly diverse CX talent pools already exist.
At Activus Connect, we’ve built our business on a foundation of high diversity. As a certified Women and Minority-Owned and Operated business, diversity is one of our cornerstones. Celebrating diversity lets us employ a team of in-culture speakers capable of genuinely connecting with your brand’s customer base.
Located in the continental United States and Puerto Rico, our Ambassadors come from all types of ethnicities, age groups, and genders, each bringing different faiths, ideas, and cultures to the table. On top of that, 70% of our senior leadership team are female and 55% are either Hispanic, African American, or Asian. This mix of diverse perspectives really helps foster creativity and inclusion, which, for our partners, means faster problem solving and greater employee retention.
As companies look towards their internal diversity plans for 2021, we suggest looking outwards as well. By partnering with customer experience outsourcing providers that champion strong diversity initiatives, inclusive leadership, and official certifications, organizations can push through the boundaries of their own diversity plans while rapidly introducing new ideas and innovative solutions through a diverse CX workforce.