Published in Economic Development

Business roundtable to track diversity efforts among members: ‘What gets measured gets done’

BY Wednesday, September 23, 2020 03:53pm

Business Leaders for Michigan plans to begin collecting and tracking data on diversity and inclusion efforts among members.

The statewide business roundtable of corporate executives and university presidents intends to first survey members and analyze “how much work is already being done at the organizational level” on racial equity, the group said.

Doug Rothwell, president and CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan COURTESY PHOTO

For instance, the organization will identify how many members measure progress on diversity, equity and inclusion in hiring, supplier diversity targets, and how many have signed the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion, an initiative led by CEOs.

Among the West Michigan-based employers that have signed the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion commitment are Herman Miller Inc., Kellogg Co., Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital, Meijer Inc., Spectrum Health and Stryker Corp. Across the state, CEOs at 41 employers have signed the commitment.

“Our strategic plan outlines the need to ‘invest in Michigan’s greatest strength: our people.’ But after careful review, it is clear that we have not invested enough into addressing racial inequity, specifically the income and education gaps that exist in our own state,” said Doug Rothwell, president and CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan.

“What gets measured, gets done,” Rothwell added. “Michigan will never be a Top Ten state unless all Michiganders benefit from the progress made, but we won’t know whether we’re truly making an impact until we have a benchmark to measure from.”

Business Leaders for Michigan expects to release initial findings in the fourth quarter and issue annual progress reports. The organization also will include data on racial equity gaps in an annual benchmarking report that compares how Michigan performs to other states across a wide array of metrics.

“Through this process, we have found that many organizations in our membership are already doing major work to eliminate racial disparity,” Herman Miller CEO Andi Owen. “This initiative is not to suggest that the work isn’t being done: We want to celebrate the progress underway, while being cognizant that we can do much more.”

Owen will lead the initiative with Ron Hall, CEO of Detroit-based auto supplier Bridgewater Interiors LLC.

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