Why You Should Assess Your Vendors' Diversity and Inclusion, Too

A diverse group of people smiling

Assessing your vendors' commitment to diversity and inclusion demonstrates that you take those topics seriously. This article explores why vendors' commitments matter, how to vet them and the benefits of holding your vendors to the same standards you have in-house.

Your organization is committed to diversity and inclusion, and you've created policies and programs that formalize your intent. You've cultivated a culture of acceptance and accountability, and you've created systems to track metrics. You're making progress toward a more just workplace.

You may feel that you're doing enough to promote diversity in your professional sphere, but have you held your vendors to the same standards that you've put in place for your organization?

Assessing your vendors' commitment demonstrates that you take diversity and inclusion seriously. While some organizations already do some vetting on the supply chain side, it's time for businesses to look at all their vendor relationships to ensure they're not complicit in supporting injustice within another organization. Investigating your vendors' commitment to diversity and inclusion is not just necessary from an ethical standpoint but from a competitive perspective as well.

Why Vendor Commitments Matter

Diversity matters in business because an employee population that comes from a variety of backgrounds brings different perspectives to all aspects of business. This translates into more creative, innovative and often more effective solutions and products.

"Accountability is going to become more and more important as people are starting to look for employers. They're going to want to see those metrics and make sure that they're joining an organization that's really putting their money where their mouth is."

— Ted Kopta, VP of Marketing, ADP

You should want your vendors to strive for the same goals as you are when it comes to diversity. You rely on their creativity, innovation and efficiency to support your initiatives, and you want your vendors to reap the benefits that come with diverse perspectives so their products and services can be more valuable to your organization.

How to Explore Vendor Commitments to Diversity

Generally, organizations with a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion are quick to share information about their goals and programs. When vetting a vendor's commitment level, business decision-makers should "focus on what kind of D&I reports and sustainability reports they have," says Ted Kopta, VP of Marketing at ADP. Typically, this information will be available on a business's website.

But just because an organization says they're working toward justice and equity doesn't make it so. If you really want to find out how deep their commitment runs, it will take a little extra effort. Consider third-party sources that evaluate businesses on their diversity efforts — Kopta points to the Human Rights Council's annual Corporate Equality Index, which "measures policies, practices and benefits pertinent to LGBTQ employees."

The Workforce Will Hold you Accountable

In recent months, discussions about and protests for racial justice have taken place across the country, and the public has clamored to find out what organizations are doing to support a more just society. Some large businesses have published metrics and made sweeping public commitments to diversity within the organization.

Regardless of an organization's size, employees will still be holding the business accountable as much, if not more so, than the public. A partnership with a vendor that doesn't match the business's commitment to diversity and inclusion could lead to questions from employees. In addition, job seekers will be looking for employers who are doing the right thing.

"Accountability is going to become more and more important as people are starting to look for employers," says Kopta. "They're going to want to see those metrics and make sure that they're joining an organization that's really putting their money where their mouth is."

Expanding Your Commitment to Diversity

Diversity should be a top priority among a business's organizational goals, but more needs to be done as well. Businesses need to do their due diligence when it comes to vendor partnerships, asking vendors about their practices and metrics and confirming those claims through third-party evaluations. By doing so, you'll be demonstrating that you're doing everything in your power to contribute to a more just and equal society and you'll be even more secure about your organization's impact on the world.

To read more about our diversity and inclusion efforts, check out the ADP Corporate Social Responsibility report . Discover diversity, equity and inclusion resources to help your organization do and be its best.