Eschewing discrimination is good business


Funerals for the victims of the Orlando nightclub massacre are only beginning, and while the national mourning might be expected to fade as it did for victims in Aurora, Sandy Hook and San Bernardino, the several issues brought to bear in this chapter of American violence and discrimination are more likely to offer a historic turning point.

The business community across the country generally has not been bound up in the biases that strangle politics and political discourse and serves as example of people united for common causes and economic well-being. Nondiscriminatory policies and practices are the norm for successful businesses, especially those operating on an international scale such as Herman Miller Inc., Steelcase Inc. and even Amway. Multi-ethnic, gender and LGBT labels especially do not fit the new economy served by a multicultural and often international labor force. To ignore that is to create peril, an enormous economic disadvantage in the lifeblood of businesses.

With the region dependent upon recruitment of workers, The Right Place Inc. has helped expand the Hello West Michigan talent attraction initiative. A diverse pool of talent is necessary for the wide variety of business sectors giving the Grand Rapids region strength, whether that’s IT, manufacturing, sciences, design or services. A budding entrepreneurial reputation adds to the strength of that regional economy.

In an interview with the Business Journal, Hello West Michigan Executive Director Cindy Brown noted research from the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research showing one-third of West Michigan’s population must be recruited from outside the area by 2025.

The Business Journal makes example here of the statement issued June 13 by the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce:

“In principle and practice, the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce believes in the value and power of diversity and inclusion at all levels of our businesses and our community. Encouraging the diversity of our people is key to creating a community where everyone is welcome and where businesses thrive through new ideas and innovations. Without diversity and inclusion, we limit our talent, our resources and the business opportunities necessary to prosper in an increasingly competitive global marketplace.

“Our work as a chamber will continue to focus on leading the West Michigan business community in creating an inviting and inclusive region that is welcoming to and safe for all people — whatever their socio-economic backgrounds, skin color, religious beliefs, gender, sexual orientation, or any other identifying differences may be.”

The lasting impact of Orlando is not just the implications of gun law, sexual orientation, ethnic diversity or feigned immigration issues. It’s about all of us and the strength of working together to achieve success.

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