Earlier this year, a number of us who represent locally based employers began meeting to consider the ways in which we can work together to improve the quality of life in our communities for our increasingly diverse workforce. These meetings were prompted by a recognition that each of us has been working within our organizations to create environments where everyone is welcome and feels a sense of belonging. We are now coming forward collectively to affirm our commitment to advancing this work together and more broadly within our communities. In this era of political divisiveness, we are aware that we risk criticism for taking this position; however, in addition to believing that we must do our part to stand up for an equitable and just future, we also believe that the future success of our organizations depends on this work.
To begin, McKinsey & Company, an internationally recognized management consulting firm has been tracking the performance of a cohort of businesses since 2015. Their research shows unequivocally that there is a strong business case for inclusion and diversity (I&D).
“The business case for I&D as a source of competitive advantage is growing stronger. Increasingly, we find that the most diverse companies recognize I&D as more than a social justice imperative; they also see it as a core enabler of growth and value creation. These diversity winners are pulling ahead of the rest.” (McKinsey & Company, “Diversity Wins – How inclusion matters”; May 2020.)
Given the competitive environment in which our organizations operate, all of us see the goal of advancing diversity and inclusion as a strategic imperative.
Beyond the business case, in the midst of an unprecedented labor shortage, we recognize that attracting and retaining future generations is also a strategic imperative. The Deloitte Global 2022 Gen Z & Millennial Survey describes the attitudes of professionals new to the workforce from across the world and concludes:
“While societal and environmental impact, along with a diverse and inclusive culture, are not always at the top of the priority list when choosing a job, these continue to be critical issues in terms of retention. Those who are satisfied with their employers’ societal and environmental impact and their efforts to create a diverse and inclusive environment are more likely to want to stay with their employer for more than five years.” (Deloitte, “Striving for balance, advocating for change – The Deloitte Global 2022 Gen Z & Millennial Survey, 2022.)
This confirms what we experience in our organizations. We are each striving to be an “employer of choice,” but we recognize that emerging leaders, who come from the most diverse generations ever seen in the US, will leave even the most satisfying jobs if they do not feel a sense of belonging at work and within the community in which they live. Despite what we do within our own organizations, as employers, we risk obsolescence if we do not advocate for the types of communities in which our workforce of the future wants to live.
Finally, collectively we believe our differences make us stronger, enrich our lives, and bring innovation and creativity to our organizations and to our communities. We are committed to cultivating a culture of inclusion and belonging where people of color, LGBTQ+ individuals and people from all backgrounds feel confident that their voices and perspectives will be honored, and their contributions heard.
Moving forward, we recognize that we have work to do to reach our goal of fostering diverse and inclusive communities and workplaces. Our journey will be one of learning, growth, and respectful engagement. We are steadfast in our desire to lead change and believe that it is possible with sincere commitment, clear goals, and measurable benchmarks. To that end, the undersigned commit to:
- Providing resources to diversity, equity, and inclusion education, research, and reform both within our organizations and our communities;
- Developing and implementing strategies that confront, challenge, and dismantle systemic inequities; and,
- Being present at and sponsoring events that honor and celebrate members of our diverse communities.
We are proud to make this commitment publicly, and as a group, and invite others to join us on a journey we hope will improve the lives of everyone, including historically underrepresented and marginalized groups, in the Upper Valley.
- Hanover Co-op Food Stores of NH & VT
- Dartmouth College
- Dartmouth Health
- Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital
- Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center
- Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center
- New London Hospital
- Visiting Nurse and Hospice for Vermont and New Hampshire.
- Dartmouth Regional Technology Center
- Kendal at Hanover
- King Arthur Baking
- Ledyard National Bank
- Mascoma Bank
- NH Center for Nonprofits
- Red River
- Simon Pearce
- Upper Valley Business Alliance
- Vermont Law and Graduate School