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In the past five years, I have researched and worked with 200 companies on how diversity & inclusion boosts productivity. These 200 organizations come from diverse industries such as healthcare, energy, technology, etc. Not only have I learned that inclusion is key for business but also that diversity fosters innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship. To look at one case, 44% of 2018’s Fortune 500 Companies were founded by immigrants or their children. One of the most proactive ways organizations can foster inclusion, diversity, and equity is through employee resources groups: People & Business Resource Groups. A multinational organization that is doing this job extremely well is Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS).

Bristol Myers Squibb, is one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies with a commitment on addressing health disparities and diversity. Their mission is to discover, develop, and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases. Given that in order to discover innovative medical solutions, BMS is doing an outstanding job in embracing diversity, inclusion, and equity within their DNA. For example, a tangible way BMS is implementing this is through People & Business Resource Groups – a place where every employee brings their authentic selves to work and use their diverse perspectives to contribute in a unique and meaningful way to the company’s mission. BMS has eight groups such has Black Organization for Leadership and Development (BOLD), Bristol Myers Squibb Network of Women (B-NOW), Cultivating Leadership and Innovation for Millennials and Beyond (CLIMB), Differently-Abled Workplace Network (DAWN), Pride Alliance (PRIDE), Organization for Latino Achievement (OLA), Pan Asian Network (PAN), and Veterans Community Network (VCN).

Through my consulting business in the field of belonging and equity, I have found out that the most successful organizations that manage to create a culture of belonging do it through the power of cross-collaboration. This is exactly what Bristol Myers Squibb is doing not only through their day-to-day operations developing creative medicines but also through their People & Business Resource Groups initiatives such as Hispanic Heritage Month. The whole point of creating affinity groups is not only to celebrate diversity but also to create a support circle in order to promote inclusion for everyone. To look at one case, OLA is partnering with CLIMB for this year’s annual Latinx Hispanic Heritage Month virtual event. This is a great way to not only include the Latino group but also the next-generation of leaders at BMS. The best way to leverage these groups is by uniting them to make a larger impact, just like BMS is doing.

Finally, you do not have to “be” to belong. By this point, I mean you do not necessarily have to be Latino to support the Latinx group in your company. This is something very powerful I have seen in diversity-friendly organizations such as BMS. The same applies to gender diversity. It is key to engage with men in order to build allyship to promote female leadership within an organization. As a matter of fact, it would be nearly impossible to achieve equity without the help of everyone to support promoting inclusion in a company. These are the reasons why I want to share one of the best practices that BMS is implementing in their human resources, diversity, and inclusion teams by supporting each of their People & Business Groups through cross-collaboration.