Diversity is a Joke at Your Company! (Here’s Why)

Listen, I’m all for diversity.

Who isn’t these days?

Every company wants to embrace diversity, sprinkle a little inclusion into the employee handbook, move the needle, yadda yadda.

But are we moving the right needle?

True Change Requires More Than Vanity Metrics

You can’t just count up the women and minorities in leadership roles, snap a photo for the company website, and call it a day.

That’s not the needle that matters.

The real needle is in the day-to-day experience of each employee.

A study by McKinsey found that companies in the top quartile for ethnic/cultural diversity were 36% more likely to have financial returns above their industry mean.

But diversity alone is not sufficient. Inclusion, or creating an environment where diverse perspectives are valued, is key to achieving the financial benefits of a diverse workforce.

Do employees feel welcomed? Valued? Heard?

Or are they silenced, minimized, and forced to conform to a culture that wasn’t built by them or for them?

That’s the needle that measures whether you’ve built an inclusive environment.

If you want real diversity, you have to do more than mix up the faces in the C-suite.

You have to listen…

Discomfort Drives Meaningful Progress

That kind of change doesn’t come from vanity.

It comes from grit.

From a sincere belief that we can do better.

That our people matter more than optics or metrics.

That’s how you move the needle.

Not by rearranging the deck chairs, but by remaking the entire ship to be seaworthy for all.

I know it’s hard. Uncomfortable, even.

But discomfort is how we grow…

Listen to Employees’ Experiences

You also can’t fall into the trap of thinking visible diversity alone equals meaningful inclusion.

If your employee base is 50% women but they still feel marginalized, you’ve made zero progress.

Listen to their stories.

Learn what subtle slights and insinuations they face every day.

Only by walking in their shoes can you understand where the roadblocks lie. Where you see a smooth path, they may see potholes and obstacles you never considered.

So check your privilege at the door. Operate with humility.

And keep listening.

This stuff is messy. Humans are complicated.

There will be missteps and backslides. But perseverance furthers. The needle only moves if you keep pushing.

So are you moving the right needle? Or are you just putting on a show of diversity, while failing to do the hard work required to make inclusion more than a buzzword?

The answer lies in the daily experience of each employee.

Listen to their stories.

Only then will you know if true change is happening.

Want to learn more about moving the needle on diversity and inclusion?

Don’t miss the panel “Are You Moving the Right Needle to Embrace Diversity and Inclusion?” at People Matter’s Tech HR 2023 conference.

Register today
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