Why Working With Indigenous Is Good For Business
Updated: May 19
The Road to RES – This blog is the first in a three-part series we’ve put together ahead of this year’s Reservation Economic Summit: RES 2022. We’re looking forward to the important networking and economic development opportunities presented by RES and want to share our perspective on the importance of supporting Indigenous-led businesses ahead of the event.
Indigenous people and Indigenous-led businesses face many challenges in the private sector. Common misconceptions and stereotypes have created misunderstandings of Indigenous culture and often result in Indigenous people being labeled as late, stoic and uncommunicative. A history of isolation from mainstream society by geography, government legislation, and misinformation have created cultural misunderstandings and a business landscape that does not successfully leverage the rich qualities of the Indigenous community.
Indigenous people are humorous, joyful and live in the moment. Indigenous culture offers unique perspectives and understandings of sustainability and the dynamics of society, family, and social structure.
While many businesses today are increasing their efforts to hire a diverse workforce and become a more inclusive place for all people, Indigenous communities are often left out of the conversation. As a result, the unique aspects of Native American culture and heritage are a missed opportunity for the private sector.
WHY WORKING WITH INDIGENOUS IS GOOD FOR BUSINESS
Every aspect of a business benefits from a strong Diversity and Inclusion policy. From the hiring process to strengthening efforts to develop meaningful relationships with partnering businesses, a business that practices its values creates a stronger work environment for all and will positively impact the bottom line. Indigenous people across the US have deep connections with their communities and bring with them to the workforce a set of qualities and perspectives that are unique from any other cultural group.
Internally, hiring a diverse work community helps employees know that their opinion is valued. That acknowledgement has been shown to increase overall employee investment and confidence - and it exponentially increases over time. Diversity and inclusion is an essential piece to building a productive work environment.
Diversity, equity and inclusion policies not only showcase that your company is a good place to work to employees, but it also signals to the outside business community that a company is good to do business with. Companies with inclusive policies and a commitment to diversity see ESG scores increase and become more attractive to potential investors and partners. This Environmental, Social, and Governance Rating is creating a business landscape that holds companies accountable for creating space in the workplace for a diverse set of people. By welcoming the opportunity to create an environment that empowers collaboration with Indigenous people, you’re not only improving the ESG score and increasing profitability, but you’re also recognized as a mindful, respectful and inclusive business.
HOW TO START
All companies looking to incorporate Diversity and Inclusion into their core values, or hoping to become a more inclusive place to work, should seek out partnerships with Indigenous communities by hiring Indigenous people, creating opportunities for Indigenous people to secure leadership roles, and seek out Native-owned businesses to partner with.
The best Diversity and inclusion strategy is backed by leadership and is a long-term commitment that sets clear goals, ensures accountability, and outlines the strategy for implementation and measurement.
At Perodigm, we have seen the landscape change over the last 10 years and the way companies used to do business just doesn’t fly anymore. We’re an Indigenous-led team of experienced marketers and business consultants who want to help the private sector strengthen their Diversity and Inclusion policies and strategies to incorporate Indigenous communities. We’ve seen it work and we want to help grow the opportunities for Indigenous-led companies to partner with other business entities and grow together sustainably.
Check out our work page for an example of our recent work with the Minnesota Tribal Contractors Council to see it in action.