LSEDC hears business case for increased diversity and inclusion

EDC StaffWhat's Happening, Workforce

Dr. Andrea Hendricks shared best practices for organizational diversity and inclusion at LSEDC’s Speaker Series luncheon on June 6. Hendricks is a Lee’s Summit resident and leads diversity and inclusion initiatives for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in her role as deputy director of diversity and inclusion.

Hendricks’s presentation included key demographic data reflecting growing cultural and generational diversity.

“Multicultural consumers are a potential market of 120 million customers. If you’re not looking at multicultural consumers as part of your strategic process, there’s an opportunity there,” Hendricks said. “There’s an opportunity to tap the spending power for consumers but you also want workers in the workplace that reflect that market.”

Hendricks made a distinction between the primary definition of diversity, which includes laws relating to women’s rights and civil rights, and a secondary definition of diversity that includes perspective, innovation and ideas. Increasingly, companies are paying attention to the latter definition to grow business and keep good employees.

“That secondary definition of diversity does not get talked about a lot, and it should,” Hendricks said. “If we say that workers have skills and competencies, then how are you leveraging them- no matter what age they are or gender they are- to be effective so they have a seat at the table and a voice. That is important to look at as you onboard generations to the workplace. You want to not only attract them (but also) retain them.”

Data gleaned from a variety of sources reflects that cultural and generational diversity is expected to grow through 2025 and even 2050, creating a strong business case for a broader perspective and outreach.

While much attention is being paid to the growing spending power of Millennials- $1.4 trillion by 2020- companies shouldn’t discount the current influence of Generation Z, now age 6-21. While many don’t have cars or credit cards, they represent a multi-billion-dollar market based on their strong influence on the buying decisions of their parents and grandparents.

“It’s important if you’re not tapping into that generation now to think about that. The 6-to-21 year olds will outpace several other generations and account for several billions in spending by 2020,” Hendricks said.

Hendricks urged companies to take a positive, pro-active approach to diversity and inclusion.

“We spend too much time looking at things that aren’t working instead of things that are working,” she said.

Dr. Andrea Hendricks earned a Bachelor of Science in Human Development Psychology and Mass Communications from Kansas State University and a Master of Science in Counseling Psychology from Kansas State University. She also earned a Doctorate in Educational Psychology and Policy Analysis from the University of Missouri -Columbia. Hendricks has worked strategically with leaders in education, diversity, and organizational development for over 25 years. She is currently employed at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City as the Assistant Vice President of Human Resources and the Deputy Director of Diversity and Inclusion. She oversees diversity and inclusion initiatives, EEO programs, employee engagement programs, benefits and organizational training and development for the 10 District. She is a certified trainer and psychologist and who has presented at numerous workshops and seminars on diversity, student success and leadership development.