Linking Diversity to Better Business Results: Interview with ConnXus’ Rod Robinson

A diverse body of talent with fresh ideas and perspectives is one of the essential ingredients to a company’s long-term success. Take a look around your office. Is everyone just like you? Probably not. By promoting a diverse talent pool, your organization is better equipped to provide fresh ideas and perspectives, a necessity for long-term success. In fact, according to Forbes, racially diverse teams outperform non-diverse ones by 35%. We recently interviewed Rod Robinson, founder and CEO of ConnXus to get his perspective on diversity in the workplace.

 

Why was it important for you to start ConnXus?

ConnXus is global supplier relationship management platform that specializes in building inclusive and sustainable corporate supply chains. It is my belief that diverse supplier networks are just as important as having a diverse network employees.  As a former chief procurement officer, I witnessed firsthand that more diverse and inclusive supplier networks drove higher levels of innovation, cost savings and delivered higher value.  I started ConnXus because I saw an opportunity to create a more innovative, scalable way to make global supply chains more diverse & inclusive, innovative and sustainable.  

What drives your passion for diversity in the workplace?

I am leader who believes in surrounding myself with people smarter than me in their areas of expertise.  I also realize that we are all a result of our cumulative life experiences.  These experiences are impacted by our race, ethnicity, gender, education (formal and informal), language, geography, age and many of factors.  To create competitive advantage, I want access to the absolute best across all of these dimensions.  I am very proud of the diversity of our team at ConnXus with over 50% of our team represented by women.  This is certainly a key contributor to the success we are having in the market.

Studies show that working with diverse suppliers can increase profitability by as much as 133%? What is the link between diversity and profitability?

In my experience, small and diverse suppliers are more innovative, nimble and hungry.  They have something to prove, so they are bringing new ideas on modifying product specifications, improving processes and reaching previously unreachable customer segments.  It’s called delivering true value!

Besides profitability, what other business results is diversity linked to?

Innovation.  In my experience, more diverse teams bring more innovative ideas, new insights and exposure to markets that often leads to new products, solutions and businesses.

What is the difference between diversity and inclusion?

I correlate diversity and inclusion to people and processes, respectively.  You can have all the diversity in the world, but without a culture of inclusiveness it’s wasted.  At ConnXus, we have a very diverse team, but more importantly everyone has a very critical role on the TEAM.  People have to feel valued.

How should human resources professionals prioritize diversity and inclusion initiatives? Any tips for execution?

It starts at the top.  If the executive leadership team is culturally competent, they will value a culture of inclusiveness.  Human resources should make diversity and inclusion a tip-top priority and be very thoughtful and deliberate.

 

Talmetrix is an employee feedback and insights solution that helps organizations better attract and retain talent to achieve business goals. Our solution makes it easy for organizations to capture employee feedback (feelings) and organizational data (facts) to discover actionable insights. With a unique combination of software, content, data, and advisory support we can help you measure and improve your employee experience.

 

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