CSR has become a major trend for many large businesses as stakeholders are demanding that their favorite companies are supporting charitable causes, engaging in ethical behavior and making a positive impact on the environment. Diversity and inclusion are very important for stakeholders in choosing which businesses to support. Many major businesses have implemented hiring initiatives to hire veterans, women, people of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community and people with disabilities. In an article by Anise Wiley-Little, the author discusses four reasons why the link between diversity and CSR is practical, including: accountability, measurable positive impact for a brand, increased understanding in diversity requirements and linking business practices with the entire organization.

Starbucks is just one of the most recent examples of a company making an inclusive change. Just months after the racial bias incident at a Starbucks in Philadelphia. Starbucks has opened its first fully American Sign Language (ASL) store in Washington, D.C. The new store, which opened the week of October 22, is staffed by employees who are deaf, hard-of-hearing, and hearing, but all are proficient in ASL. It is located near Gallaudet University, the nation’s largest university for deaf and hearing-impaired students. In a recent press release, Starbucks says this store was one of its efforts to create a culture of inclusion, recruit diverse employees and increase accessibility. The D.C. location is the first of its kind in the U.S.

Starbucks is not the only company putting an effort on diversity and inclusion. They are in good company with some of the biggest companies like Amazon and Nike. Amazon has hosted an annual event called CORE to make Amazon a more inclusive place to work. The company has also implemented a modern approach to parental leave and pledged in 2016 to hire 25,000 veterans by 2021. Amazon’s commitment to diversity and inclusion has gone outside the office as well with commitment to STEM education for high school-aged girls. In a statement by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos accepting the Human Rights Campaign’s National Equality Award, Bezos said, “We want our employees and the communities where we operate to embrace that we are all human, we are all different, and we are all equal.”

Nike has also been a champion for diverse and inclusive workforce, being listed by the Human Rights Campaign as one of the “Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality 2018” for 16 years in a row. In a statement by Mark Parker, Chairman, President and CEO, he says, “Because different perspectives can fuel the best ideas, we are committed to a workplace that is increasingly diverse and inclusive.” The apparel company has also received accolades for being a top company for women over the past few years.

So how does a commitment to diverse and inclusive recruitment impact an organization? It is important to communicate these initiatives as it sends informative signals to employees, future employees, clients and shareholders, according to an article by Wendy Berk. An organization’s commitment to diversity and inclusion will have a sustainable competitive advantage and reap the benefits of these decisions.

Stay tuned…