Embracing I&D initiatives is not about embracing a mantra. Inclusion must be weaved into the framework of every organization and every customer experience – from employees to shoppers, everyone should feel comfortable to be their true self. And when it comes to how retailers are doing, consumers are noticing.
Authenticity matters to millennials
Companies who stand for something bigger1 than what they sell and weave that purpose into the fabric of their organization, are more likely to attract consumers and influence purchasing decisions.
Our 2018 holiday shopping survey2 found that if a retailer is not authentically committed to prioritizing inclusion and diversity, millennials are likely to take their money to a competitor who is. They are also inclined to choose a brand who demonstrates inclusion and diversity in its promotions and offers, in-store experience, product range and environmental awareness.
Ethics are at the core of consumers
Not only do consumers want the companies they shop from to take a stand on the social, cultural, environmental and political issues close to their hearts – but nearly three-quarters (74 percent)3 crave greater transparency in how companies source their products, ensure safe working conditions and their stance on important issues such as animal testing.
Retailers have room to grow
Compared to other industry segments, retailers are significantly behind on areas like sensitivity training, leadership behaviors and incorporating I&D into the company growth strategy, according to Accenture’s inclusion and diversity survey which evaluated the impact I&D initiatives have on the people who they are designed to help.
The research also suggests that retailers can improve on their recruiting efforts by developing and advancing talent programs that build more diverse and inclusive teams at all levels of the organization. But when it comes to retaining talent, retailers are on track with the other industry sectors surveyed – consumer goods, travel, industrial and life sciences.
Four steps to I&D maturity
Simply having I&D programs in place is not enough. The true success of I&D initiatives depends on the impact they have for the employees and customers they are intended to support, which often means different things to different people.4
- Is there strategic intent to integrate I&D?
- Do leadership behaviors support I&D?
- Is an inclusive culture actively fostered?
- Do talent actions encourage I&D?
Becoming purpose-led starts at the top. Organizations that want to build stronger consumer connections and sustain their competitiveness by becoming purpose-led5 can do so by: