Lansing, MI – Business Leaders for Michigan today announced its commitment to eliminating the racial inequities that exist in Michigan for Black Americans, beginning with its own Board member organizations.
For the past several months, a subset of the Board focused intensely on examining how corporations can – and should – work to reduce racial inequity, and outlined a scope of work for its members, including identifying foundational metrics for progress measurement. The work has been co-led by Ron Hall, CEO of Bridgewater Interiors, and Andi Owen, CEO of Herman Miller, along with support from PwC.
Business Leaders for Michigan will survey its membership on several specific targets to first analyze how much work is already being done at the organizational level, for example: identifying the percentage of members who are signatories of CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™; the percentage of companies that measure diversity, equity and inclusion in employee hiring, compensation, and progression; and the percentage of members who have supplier diversity targets.
The Board recognizes that individual member companies are at various points on the spectrum, with some doing work in this space for a long time and some taking action more recently. Regardless of their current scale, organizations are encouraged to participate now, in order to measure progress. Business Leaders for Michigan expects to release initial data findings in the fourth quarter of 2020, with annual progress reporting to follow.
“Our strategic plan outlines the need to ‘invest in Michigan’s greatest strength: our people’. But after careful review, it is clear that we have not invested enough into addressing racial inequity, specifically the income and education gaps that exist in our own state,” said Doug Rothwell, President and CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan.
“What gets measured, gets done,” Rothwell said. “Michigan will never be a Top Ten state unless all Michiganders benefit from the progress made, but we won’t know whether we’re truly making an impact until we have a benchmark to measure from.”
“This is what being a contributing corporate citizen looks like in Michigan,” said Ron Hall. “Certainly there is work being done at many levels and by many different organizations to change the inequities that exist, but we must do this on a larger scale to truly move forward and make Michigan a leader in closing the gaps that have been laid bare.”
Andi Owen said: “Through this process, we have found that many organizations in our membership are already doing major work to eliminate racial disparity. This initiative is not to suggest that the work isn’t being done: We want to celebrate the progress underway, while being cognizant that we can do much more.”
Additionally, Business Leaders for Michigan’s annual benchmarking report will for the first time measure several key data points specific to racial equity gaps, beginning in January 2021.