Innovating for Diversity: Lessons from Top Companies Achieving Business Success through Inclusivity

Innovating for Diversity: Lessons from Top Companies Achieving Business Success through Inclusivity

Author: Bertina Ceccarelli & Susanne Tedrick
Review by: Karen Beaven

In the quest for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), Bertina Ceccarelli and Susanne Tedrick’s “Innovating for Diversity: Lessons from Top Companies Achieving Business Success through Inclusivity” stands up as a must read for HR Leaders. This book isn’t just a collection of theories; it’s filled with actionable strategies that can guide individuals and teams towards a more inclusive future. This book presents a refreshing, practical, and inspiring perspective on a topic that should be on all of our agendas.

Shifting the conversation beyond HR
Ceccarelli and Tedrick have successfully moved the conversation around DEI beyond the confines of HR. They rightly point out that because DEI programmes are often HR led, they’re routinely viewed as a cost centre. This shouldn’t be, and doesn’t need to be the case at all.

They’ve painted a vivid picture where DEI is not just a moral or ethical obligation but a key driver of business success. The insights offered are drawn from interviews with leaders of top companies who have successfully integrated DEI into their DNA, providing invaluable lessons for HR and business leaders alike.

The authors demonstrate clearly that in addition to being the right thing to do, investing in DEI brings significant business advantages, driving innovation, boosting productivity, and enhancing companies’ reputations.

Emphasising Actionable Strategies
What sets this book apart is its focus on action. It’s one thing to talk about the importance of diversity and inclusivity, but it’s another to actually do something about it. Ceccarelli and Tedrick don’t stop at telling us why we need DEI; they show us how to achieve it. They provide a roadmap for implementing DEI initiatives, from identifying underrepresented talent to fostering an inclusive company culture.

What I found particularly helpful was the authors intention to set out ‘An innovation framework to challenge readers to take a fresh look at their DEI efforts and guide the development of new initiatives.’

This results in a book that’s brimming with practical tips, making it an essential resource for HR and business leaders looking to drive real change in their organisations. It’s not just about understanding the ‘why’ but also mastering the ‘how’ of DEI.

As the authors put it, this is about creating ‘Real change, not marketing change.’

Learning from the Best
The authors have done an excellent job gathering insights from leaders who have navigated the challenges of creating diverse and inclusive workplaces.

These experiences serve as great examples for other companies to adapt and model. The case studies included in the book offer actionable, inspiring strategies for the successful implementation of DEI practices in any economic cycle.

The Necessity of Innovation
Perhaps one of the most compelling aspects of this book is the authors’ insistence on the necessity of innovation in DEI practices. They argue that merely following standard practices is not enough. Instead, companies need to be willing to experiment, take risks, and innovate to advance diversity and inclusion truly.

The authors don’t hold back in looking at roadblocks to this, calling out three ‘toxins to innovation,’ specifically lack of prioritisation, inertia, and arrogance.

This emphasis on innovation is a refreshing take on DEI and a call to action for all HR professionals. It challenges us to think outside the box and find new ways to promote diversity and inclusion.

This book is a must-read for any HR or business leader committed to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace. It offers a fresh perspective, practical advice, and inspiring examples of success that can help turn diversity and inclusion from an aspiration into a reality.

Ceccarelli and Tedrick have given us a tool for change. As leaders, we owe it to our organisations and ourselves to heed the lessons from this book and work towards creating workplaces where everyone can thrive.

In conclusion, this feels like a call out to HR leaders and business leaders to redefine their approach to DEI. By embracing innovation and learning from those who have succeeded, we can all create more diverse and inclusive workplaces. And as Ceccarelli and Tedrick convincingly argue, that’s not just good for people; it’s good for business too.

Published by Wiley

Reviewed by Karen Beaven, Director Reignite HR