We’ve all been affected in different ways by the events of the past year, which have had profound consequences for our economy, our health and for society.
Last Wednesday, we hosted a leadership Zoom call with some of our leading customers (both facilities and procurement professionals) from the retail, restaurant, grocery, healthcare, entertainment and technology industries to discuss an important topic that has become more urgent and top-of-mind for all of us – Diversity and Inclusion (D&I).
This has never been a more important topic, and it’s incumbent on all of us that we work together to foster and build a more diverse service provider network and community. Among the topics we touched on were:
- How D&I fits into our company cultures and mission statements — especially how it applies to facilities and procurement organizations, and by extension to supplier and service provider networks
- How the events of 2020 highlighted the need for greater diversity in the supply chain and among service providers
- How to work with local and national agencies to promote and deliver greater diversity in service provider networks
- How to structure training and programs to ensure this becomes a continual focus of improvement, to accelerate progress and to provide tools and feedback to make this happen
- How to understand and improve D&I within direct supplier networks, and also within networks of sub-contractors
- There was significant discussion on current best practices – for both existing service provider networks and for new, prospective providers and RFPs
We all have to do better on the D&I front. There was a strong sense of community and sharing during the discussion – an agreement that we can do better together, and that we’ll have to collaborate to do so.
We understand at ServiceChannel that we have our own work to do, and our goal is to lead by example. We’ve never had more requests from our customers in this area, and we’re investing in data and tools to help make D&I in our industry more pervasive and transparent going forward. While we can help today (primarily with access to self-reported data), we recently upped the ante by partnering with a company called Middesk, which will be providing us with more than a dozen new data points from the Small Business Administration (SBA) to help us identify and validate minority-owned, women-owned, and veteran-owned businesses within our service provider community. As customers, you’ll be seeing new D&I tools roll out later this year as part of our recently-launched service provider search capabilities.
This discussion was the second in a monthly leadership series that we began in January, when we talked about the future of restaurants. That session, like this recent one, led to a productive exchange of ideas from proactive thought leaders in our industry. We’ll be holding these sessions on the last Wednesday of each month around a range of timely and important topics, and we hope you will join future discussions.
We would love to hear your thoughts, perspectives, and best practices on diversity and inclusion. We all need to partner to address this important issue and I believe that together we can make a big difference. Please let us know what you think.