Improving Workplace Engagement Through Diversity and Inclusion

Katherine Mehr

Five years ago, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Diversity and Inclusion program was not comprehensive whatsoever. Diversity was regarded merely as conversation of the differences between people based on their race and gender. These conversations did not delve into culture competencies or look at what the organization as a whole should be like.

However, Kelley Cornish, Director of Enterprise HR and Diversity & Inclusion, had the opportunity to turn diversity and inclusion into a business imperative and strategic plan for the organization.

Cornish views diversity as the differences of dimensions around gender and race, and going beyond into age, class, disability, ethnicity, religion, family situations, etc. She makes a valid point that we all bring so many differences into the workplace, but how inclusive are we?

The challenge The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia faces is creating an inclusive work environment. They face questions such as: How do we make all these people work well together? How do we create systems and policies to make the workplace more inclusive? The answer is to create a strong diversity team to make it flow really well.

There are consequences if diversity and inclusion are not implemented within the workplace. Customers can be lost. Employee engagement can drop. Quality of care or service can be impacted. If organizations don’t have programs that tie into the diverse population, internally and externally, your clients/customers will walk out the door.

Cornish discusses with Human Resources IQ the diversity and inclusion initiatives that are currently in place at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She discusses how these initiatives play a key part in making employees feel engaged, part of the team and included so that they can help the organization achieve the goals they need to achieve.

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