Asbury Automotive Group: Advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace

Although organizations have discussed the topic of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for years, due to recent events, there has been a heightened awareness and consciousness towards DE&I in the workplace. As someone who has been a researcher and practitioner in this space for over 15 years, I am excited to see DE&I become a strategic priority for organizations where leaders are committing to advance DE&I within and outside their company walls. To successfully infuse DE&I into your organization, there are a few things companies should do to support these efforts:

Connect DE&I to the Business Strategy

For companies looking to advance DE&I within their organization, it is essential to think about DE&I as not separate from your other business practices, but as an integral part of how you do business. It must be connected to the business strategy. DE&I cannot just be seen as the responsibility of HR or an HR “issue,” it needs to be at the core of how companies operate. Leaders must have a diversity lens when approaching their work.

Integrate DE&I into Talent and People Processes

For organizations seeking to create a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment, DE&I must be present in every part of the employee life cycle. From the moment someone is introduced to the organization to the moment they exit, DE&I should be evident in each step and fully integrated into talent and people processes. For DE&I to transition from being seen as a program, it must become operational and second nature in how we recruit, retain, and develop talent.

Make DE&I core to the Company’s Culture

To make DE&I efforts stick, they must become part of the fabric of your organizational culture. DE&I should be present in your company’s mission, vision, and values – it should become part of your company’s DNA. Use inclusive language when describing your company culture and hold leaders accountable for promoting inclusive behavior. Changing culture is not an easy task, but it’s worth the effort to make long-lasting, systemic change.

Set Objectives, measure them, and be transparent

Early in my career, I quickly learned, “What gets measured, gets done.” It is important to set measurable objectives focused on advancing DE&I within your organization. While holding leaders accountable for these objectives is key to DE&I success, it is equally important to share progress with employees. For employees to champion diversity, they must be brought along the journey. Sharing progress and being transparent with your efforts helps reinforce a company’s commitments and creates advocacy amongst employees.

Have a voice at the table

As a DE&I leader, one of the most crucial ways to advance DE&I is to ensure you have a voice at the table. The role of a Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion officer is one of influence. Often, you don’t own an operational function, so you must influence others and be a champion of change. Making sure you can voice your perspective and advocate for DE&I initiatives with executive leaders is necessary for organizations to move forward. Sometimes you may be the one opposing viewpoint, but that is the role you play…challenging leaders to think and operate differently.

At Asbury Automotive Group, we have been focused on building and operationalizing DE&I through our team members, culture, business, and community. Not only do we want to advance DE&I within our company and the Automotive retail industry, but we also want to impact our communities through charitable giving and volunteerism. Our partnership with HBCU Change, is just one example of how we are committed to advancing diverse and equitable opportunities in our communities. Although we have a long way to go on our journey, we are excited about the possibility of making a positive impact within our industry and the communities we live and serve.






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