Diversity and inclusion have an inherent business imperative. That imperative is both more than humane. It helps all of us not a few, rise up.
~Jim Woods President Woods Kovalova Group Training
Diversity and inclusion are still perceived as an end to a means. Despite laudatory websites and sales pitches by long-winded CEOs, managers who could care less, and hr people who are still trying to explain their existence in the face of change the fallback procedure isn’t heart but time-worn treatise by white and black people clinging to safety. Not reimagination.
Businesses that do diversity effectively do not assign it to a separate program. They do, however, integrate diversity into all of the processes of their organization. Differences become a lens for exploring, discovering, improving, and expanding talent. When discussions lean towards recruitment, commit to doing more than having a minority recruiter, they teach all of their other recruiters the critical skills of relating to the diverse populace they intend to recruit from.
A point often overlooked is the failure of leaders to instill accountability in the systems so their managers can assume responsibility for forming a diverse and inclusive environment.
Sadly, one of the negating factors about diversity is leaders who pontificate the correct things concerning diversity, while their managers who are on the front-lines, the ones putting policy into fruition do not feel valued, leading to misunderstandings about who is really responsible.
It is important for companies to recognize the relevant components, quantify them, and make that part of how managers are assessed. Needlessly reinventing methods waste considerable time when it is more important to look at the present ways a company has. Through the view of diversity and inclusion, a manager can see a clearer view of customers and community stakeholders.
Many diversity programs are cosmetic. Some instances arise when a company determines they need internal diversity meeting outside shareholders who are diverse. Those shareholders expect to interact with someone they can identify with. It isn’t necessarily correct that a black person needs to be interacted with by African-Americans. Frankly, as a black person, it has never mattered to me as long as the person is willing to take the time to understand my concerns.
There are beliefs that because one’s customer base is diverse, then there should be diversity in the workforce. But, that is taking a myopic view.
The real reason to be diverse and inclusive is that it literally can improve everything a company does.
How awful to think one should be inclusive simply because of the customer base. This signals to employees that they are merely an instrument for revenue. You may gain their increase as a revenue stream but lose in retention and trust.