When diversity in the workplace comes up, most minds focus on the people in the office. Rarely, however, do they consider the people in the supply chain. But supplier diversity is an integral contributor to a business’s long-term health.
What is supplier diversity? It’s when businesses partner with supply chain vendors from various underrepresented groups, such as minorities, women, veterans, and the LGBTQ community. A supplier diversity program isn’t just a boost to these underrepresented groups and their companies — it also benefits those surrounding communities by creating jobs and strengthening overall economic outlooks.
But how exactly can a business enjoy| the benefits of a supplier diversity program? By using these four tactics:
- Create an advisory team. Something as ambitious as a new supply chain approach needs companywide support. To build a sustainable supplier diversity program, put together a team of high-level employees from all departments that understand and can make a business case for vendor diversity.
Before Integrity Staffing Solutions launched our supplier diversity program five years ago, we sought buy-in from our president, CEO, CFO, and senior leadership team. With executive validation, we’ve been able to grow the program consistently and have seen internal and external success.
- Establish program success metrics. Put the desired objectives and goals of your program into focus with a diversity mission statement that spells out specific benchmarks. This puts supplier diversity into perspective for decision makers and defines the value provided by inclusive supply chain sourcing.
Our advisory team crafted a mission statement that laid out the benefits we hoped to see from diverse suppliers — it covered our associates, our clients, or the surrounding communities. Be explicit about what success looks like for your supplier diversity program to chart a straightforward course of action toward your vendor goals and forecast any potential hiccups.
- Take a look at your current vendors. Something will inevitably disrupt your supplier diversity plans. Get out in front of any issues by surveying your existing vendors to determine their commitment to vendor diversity.
We did this with our pool of vendors and found that many already had some sort of diversity certification, which let us know we were aligned with like-minded partners. Throughout our six-month audit, we met with high-level members of our partners and discovered their connections with the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), to name a few.
- Develop specialized reports. Perhaps the most time-consuming aspect of any supplier diversity program is monitoring its progress. As cumbersome as reporting might be, tracking program success metrics and putting them into context via specialized reports are critical steps in the process.
Create templated reports that enable you to compile information in a timely manner. For example, we work closely with our finance team to keep track of our vendor diversity goals. We meet with the team twice a year to evaluate our progress and determine ways to expand our efforts.
Supplier diversity can bring significant business benefits to the table. Expand your commitment to diversity to your supply chain by taking a deliberate and progress-driven approach to supply chain diversity, and you might be surprised by the numerous advantages it provides.
Integrity Staffing Solutions is a full-service staffing agency and ranks in the top 2% of agencies across the country for quality service based on ClearlyRated’s “Best of Staffing” client survey. To learn more about Integrity or for help with your hiring needs, visit integritystaffing.com or call 833-446-1300.