Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) has been a hot topic across all industries, even more so in recent years. While many organizations profess a commitment to DEI, how many actually “walk the talk” instead of just paying lip service to their customers and employees? “Yoda says, ‘You either do, or you do not.’ There’s no trying. That’s been my philosophy regarding how I think about diversity and inclusion,” said Chip Wade, President and COO of Union Square Hospitality Group.

We’ve spoken before about DEI and how vitally important adoption of these initiatives is across every industry in our blog “Using Konverse to Drive DEI Initiatives.” To make a long story short, workers want to keep their companies accountable to equitable hiring practices. Nearly 80% of workers say that they want to work for a company that values DEI, and prioritizing these practices is especially important in a competitive labor market.

Diversity among employees allows new ideas and ways of thinking to be introduced and acted upon. With diversity showing a proven increase in innovation and better assessment of consumer interest and demand, it’s easy to see that valuing and placing an emphasis on DEI pays dividends not only for your employees, but for your business as well. We at Konverse were proud to sponsor Nation's Restaurant News' recent CREATE webinar featuring Chip Wade: a very accomplished and forward-thinking leader in the hospitality and restaurant industries. We appreciated Chip and Union Square Hospitality Group's commitment to communication, especially how they kept in touch with furloughed and former employees to help them navigate through the difficulties they were experiencing at the onset of the pandemic. Not only has USHG shown high regard for communication, but they’ve also leaned into a workplace that embraces DEI initiatives.

“I have a strong and definitive view on this as a person of color. I think the nation, and business in general, have been talking about diversity and inclusion for the better part of 40 years. Some companies have gotten exponentially better, some have made modest progress, and others have not moved the needle,” said Chip.

Chip and USHG have certainly “walked the talk” when it comes to DEI, and they’re gaining insights from employees regarding how they can do even more to foster an inclusive environment.

“We’ve held several town hall discussions with our employees, and we called these sessions ‘Chats with Chip.’ The intent was really to have this spirited, transparent, and candid conversation about diversity, inclusion, and biases,” said Chip. “Conversations are important, whether they’re at USHG or any other enterprise. But for us, it’s about doing. What exactly are you going to do to create a more inclusive and diverse environment for your employees?”

Putting DEI into practice, many of USHG’s leadership team is composed of people of varying backgrounds and ethnicities, demonstrating that diversity brings innovative ideas.

“We want our workforce to look like New York City: the most diverse city in North America. I’m proud to say that of my five C-level executives, all are women. One is of Middle Eastern descent, one is of Asian descent, and I think I have a brilliant and great team. I love surrounding myself with people who are exponentially smarter than I am,” said Chip.

Spending time and resources on developing DEI initiatives, as USHG has done, is worthwhile at any business. Konverse is a powerful company app used to share resources, create a dialogue, and distribute critical policies, among other functions. Employers can empower employees with further learning and create an environment where inclusion is at the forefront. Investing in DEI will show you a happier, more innovative, more engaged, and more equitable workforce.

Speak to one of our experts today and learn how Konverse can help your business excel in DEI initiatives and communication with one easy-to-use company app