Mark Cuban says smart businesses embrace diversity, equity and inclusion. That’s a stance at odds with some recent high-profile skepticism of the organizational framework from fellow billionaires Elon Musk and Bill Ackman.
“Let me help you out and give my thoughts on DEI,” Cuban told Musk on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Wednesday. “Good businesses look where others don’t to find the employees that will put your business in the best possible position to succeed.”
“I take it as a given that there are people of various races, ethnicities, orientation[s], etc. that are regularly excluded from hiring consideration,” the 65-year-old billionaire added. “By extending our hiring search to include them, we can find people that are more qualified.
“The loss of DEI-phobic companies is my gain.”
In the wake of George Floyd’s murder in May 2020, many companies began hiring consultants or full-time staffers to help them diversify and strengthen their workplaces. More recently, some of those businesses have backtracked. Tech giants like Google and Meta downsized their DEI programs during layoffs and budget cuts last year.
Musk and Ackman, who have emerged as two high-profile critics of DEI, object to the idea of only hiring minority candidates and excluding others. Cuban pushed back against the notion that that’s what DEI policies call for.
When done properly, he wrote, hiring managers intentionally seek some job candidates from underrepresented groups. That helps recruiters identify well-qualified potential employees they might have otherwise passed over.
Why Cuban says DEI is ‘good for business’
Research shows that companies with DEI policies outperform their counterparts by widening the net of qualified candidates to hire and appealing more to Gen Z workers.
In a 2021 Forrester Consulting survey, 60% of respondents said that diversity within their sales teams contributed to the teams’ success. Similarly, companies with a diversity and inclusion team are 22% more likely to be seen as “an industry-leading company with high-caliber talent,” according to a recent LinkedIn report.
Bringing lots of different kinds of people into your organization matters not because it checks an HR box but because “people tend to connect more easily to people who are like them,” Cuban wrote. “Having a workforce that is diverse and representative of your stakeholders is good for business.”
Likewise, “equity” means that you “recognize [employees’] differences and play to their strengths where ever [sic] possible,” he wrote. And “inclusion” means “making all employees, no matter who they are or how they see themselves, feel comfortable in their environment and able to do their jobs.”
Cuban noted that he’s made an effort to make DEI a core competency in his businesses and startup investments, even though it’s “not easy.”
On Thursday, he and Musk appeared to find some common ground on the subject.
“I do think that if merit for a given job is roughly the same, then the tiebreaker should be diversity (of all kinds),” Musk wrote.
Cuban responded: “Which is no different than what I have been saying. You expand the candidate pool and you are going to find great people that others ignore.”
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