by Fred Keeton
Vice President Finance, External Affairs and Chief Diversity Officer
Caesars Entertainment Corporation
While many of us have made arguments that diversity and inclusion enhance business outcomes, the direct connection has most often been omitted. In most instances diversity and inclusion have been viewed solely as a reflection of an organization’s character. While almost every company has gone beyond adhereing to affirmative action requirements and a singular focus on representation, we still struggle in making the most direct connection to driving business outcomes. In today’s business world, the largest oversight a company and its Chief Diversity Officer can have is not recognizing the business case for diversity and creating formal structures, policy, processes and procedures for manifesting specific positive bottom line business results related to targeted business issues.
“When managed appropriately, it can drive profoundly enhanced outcomes.”
At Caesars Entertainment Corporation, we view diversity in parallel paths including traditionally focused diversity coupled with yield managed cognitive diversity. Cognitive diversity management can be defined as, “leveraging cognitive abilities and predispositions based on individual backgrounds, experiences and genetic wiring to generate / obtain specifically desired business outcomes related to specific problems or opportunities.” Across the company we have created a formal approach and made a direct, solid-line business connection between our stated position: that diversity is great for business; It’s great for driving better business outcomes, and great for generating innovation. This approach significantly enhances Caesars overall success as a global company and is a central element of our strategic business plans.
Our CEO has positioned diversity and inclusion under the office of the Chief Financial Officer and ranked diversity and inclusion as a legitimate business imperative. This positioning sends a positive message to the business.
We understand that diversity and inclusion is most potent in solving a company’s hardest problems, or taking advantage of its most complex opportunities. Based on employees’ cognitive preferences and predispositions, along with other relevant dimensions of diversity, Diverse-by-Design (DbyD) teams are formed at our resorts and casinos. While the fundamental team objective is clear, the instrumental approach to driving enhanced outcomes is driven by the team’s overall diversity.
The DbyD approach can be universally applied across all business functions to achieve optimal outcomes. When managed appropriately, it can drive profoundly enhanced outcomes. Most companies fail to formally source employees’ potential and miss opportunities to improve operations, understand customers, and open workforce communication.
The real power of workplace diversity and inclusion lies in identifying, mining and channeling our colleagues’ diverse, untapped cognitive abilities. Understanding and executing this approach leads to continuous innovation and real bottom-line results that take us well beyond enacting diversity and inclusion efforts solely based on compliance and character.
Organizations should consider formalizing both the structural and business outcome connections, which are key to realizing diversity and inclusion’s true value.
Fred Keeton is Vice President of Finance, External Affairs and Chief Diversity Officer for Caesars Entertainment Corporation, the world’s largest gaming-entertainment company. In this role, he oversees operationalizing diversity and inclusion in Human Resources, Supplier Sourcing, Community Reinvestment, Design and Construction, Marketing, innovation and continuous improvement.
Linkage’s Institute for Leading Diveristy & Inclusion
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