The past few years have changed the workplace in countless ways, but the most urgent, immediate shift came with the Black Lives Matter movement. While companies already had diversity initiatives in place, bringing the issue of racial inequality to the national agenda gave it new meaning, importance and urgency. But two years out, have we seen that real change?
And yes, that question is meant as an open question, not only for us, but for you. We have a perspective to offer, but by no means does it fully cover this deep, rich topic. We’d love to hear what you think in the comments.
While the demand for DE&I-specific roles went up 55 percent in June 2020, showing diversity on an org chart isn’t the same as embracing diversity as a mindset in an organization. One is an outward show of broad action. The other is an organization-wide initiative. It’s not to say that diversity of mindset, culture and sensitivity isn’t part of many organizations. It’s pointing out that the effort has been misdirected in some organizations.
Yes, one action is easier than the other. Putting an emphasis on hiring diversity is a singular action that can nudge a company forward. A corporate mindset shift is a much larger undertaking but it affects real change in not only the mindsets of new hires, but current employees throughout the organization. Diversity is not a specialty. It is today’s modern business reality, and we should all treat it that way.
Representation for everyone
It’s not only about reflecting the needs, culture and ideas of underrepresented communities. Diversity at its simplest means representation of a mix of mindsets. Hiring a diverse workforce can help make this happen, but empowering everyone within that workforce is what will make true organizational change happen. Diversity is not about change for change’s sake, but representation for everyone’s sake.
Ask the communities, not the companies
Stats and org charts that show increasing diversity within a company are just that: they represent a snapshot of the company. Where we should be looking is at the communities who were previously underrepresented. Has anything changed for them? Is there tangible evidence that a more diverse corporate workforce is actually shaping its output?
We may not see that true change for years, but with efforts in the right place, true diversity will take hold and become the norm, not the goal.
There’s a lot more to be discussed, and we’d love to hear your personal take. How are you addressing the mindset change required for diversity in your own work and ideas?