Strengthening Diversity and Inclusion Efforts

If you are a member of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, you get it. Providing a diverse and inclusive workplace continues to grow in importance for every type of employer.

Managers increasingly realize that diversity and inclusion are essential in recruiting employees as well as retaining them once they are hired. Furthermore, studies have shown that diversity in the workforce leads to better overall business performance, from higher than average profitability to more customers. Members are looking for assistance to ensure that they are doing everything possible to provide a work environment that supports all employees.

In fact, 65% of the respondents to our Annual Advocacy and Member Survey this past fall indicated they struggle in achieving a diverse workforce. That’s up 16% from the previous year’s survey.

That is why the Partnership continues to enhance our offerings in Diversity and Inclusion programming for our members. Since establishing the Diversity and Inclusion Council two years ago – which, in 2020, will transition to an Executive Committee –  the Partnership has been hard at work in strengthening our efforts. Following is a quick review of some of those initiatives, including our newest programs.

Diversity & Inclusion Executive Exchange

This innovative D&I offering provides a forum for leaders to collaboratively share skills and strategies to reshape business practices. It is a unique and practical program designed specifically for diversity and inclusion officers and senior leaders with the highest level of responsibility for implementation of D&I initiatives. Applications are now being accepted and member response has been strong. To learn more and apply for this members-only program, click here.

Diversity & Inclusion Academy

We are pleased to introduce the Partnership’s new Diversity & Inclusion Academy, an innovative five session program to be offered over six to eight weeks. The Academy will offer Partnership members the opportunity to broaden their knowledge of  D&I strategies and best practices.  Sessions will include Racial Equity Impact Analysis Training for members who have not taken this program, a pre-requisite for the Academy. Additional sessions include making the business case for D&I; understanding unconscious bias; goal setting for D&I initiatives; and policies and practices in D&I. The program kicks off in February, so check back soon or details on how to register. More details on the Academy will be available soon.

Diversity & Inclusion Symposium

Western New York’s first ever Diversity & Inclusion Symposium was presented by the Buffalo Niagara Partnership and the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo this past June. National experts on D&I shared their knowledge on subjects such implicit bias, building an inclusive culture, and the best practices for D&I initiative implementation. The symposium was an overwhelming success, with more than 220 attendees learning about D&I during the day-long event. Now, the second annual Diversity & Inclusion Symposium is set for June 15, 2020 in the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center, so save the date!

Diversity & Inclusion Survey

To better inform our work in this area, the Partnership is developing an extensive Diversity & Inclusion Survey to obtain feedback from both our membership and the business community as a whole. Scheduled for release in March 2020, the survey is designed to provide critical input from a diverse range of businesses and organizations so we can tailor our programming to specific needs of members and employers. Look for more information on the survey in the new year.

Learn more from the Partnership

Employers, non-profits and government leaders across Buffalo Niagara are making great strides in diversity and inclusion in the workplace. And, of course, there is still work to be done. To learn more about Diversity & Inclusion programming at the Partnership, click here. Or contact Juliana Janson, Vice President, Talent Programs.