The most important benefit of increasing ethnic and gender diversity in the workforce and leadership team is gaining diversity of thought in all areas of business.
This is the perspective of Adam Warner, president of Key Equipment Finance, as explained in a recent video interview with the Equipment Finance Advisor.
Women in leasing
In the interview, Warner first addresses how the equipment leasing and finance industry has improved its offerings, including efforts to increase the number of women through its Women in Leasing initiative.
"When it started, it was very focused on how we promote women in the industry, but a few years ago, Lori Frasier (Key Equipment Finance Senior Vice President, Strategy and Performance Management) took over that organization, spearheaded it and opened it up to not just women but men," Warner says. "I think it's important if we're going to do anything around diversity that we don't exclude white males, because white males are in a lot of positions of authority in financial services, and if you exclude them, it's harder to move the ball down the field."
Increasing ethnic diversity
When it comes to ethnic diversity in equipment leasing, the industry needs to try harder with its recruitment and hiring practices and not make excuses about not being located in ethnically diverse areas.
"By trying harder, it means that you create a more diverse slate of candidates," Warner says. "It's really important to tell your recruiters: 'I expect some level of diversity when you are presenting candidates for me.' I also think it's important to make sure when you are interviewing those candidates, it's not the usual suspects...you put a diverse slate into the interview panel, and guess what? Our clients are more diverse."
A diverse team creates new ideas
Warner goes on to explain that when companies gravitate toward a more diverse organization, they create diverse ideas and strategies that didn’t exist in the past.
He also believes if companies and banks in the equipment leasing and finance industry do not focus on diversification, they will not be prepared to properly represent their clients.
For these reasons, it will become increasingly important over time to focus on building teams that are more representative of clients’ incoming workforces.