Vice-a-Versa: The D&I (Diversity and Inclusion) Dilemma
How many D&I conversations have you experienced in your company or other places that sound something along the lines of this: 1) We just need to get more diverse candidates in the door to fix our diversity problem….or….2)We need to build a more inclusive workplace and everything will be fine.
Sound familiar? This is a common occurrence of what I like to call the D&I dilemma. A concept of vice a versa, laced with D&I ear candy, because both lines written above sound great in theory. The problem here is that there are extreme similarities to the which came first, the chicken or the egg argument. This dilemma has filled our minds with confusion for years. Is there a right answer? Let me help you think through the process.
First, let’s start with some statements that I have often heard, and have to debunk around D&I when going into businesses to help them build a DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) strategy. I left the “E” out if the blog today because that topic deserves a damn blog of its own. Stay tuned, it’s coming soon, but I digress. For now, back to the statements:
• We have a pipeline issue.
o (False) you don’t actually have a pipeline issue for diversity, you have a hiring and recruitment bias. The pipeline exists, they’re just looking for an opportunity that doesn’t discriminate against who they are because of their identities. Get through that first and you can get more diverse populations in the door….right? Not so fast, let’s get to the next statement.
• If we attract diverse populations, we can build an inclusive culture based on their needs
o (False). Inclusion is not just something that begins in a workplace once diverse populations show up, and you put them through the trial and error of discriminatory hell and expect them to tell you what you did wrong while being tortured because of their identity! Get it together please!
• We want diversity of thought.
o (False) Newsflash, if you think that you can have a conversation of diversity of thought without including multiple diversity dimensions such as race, class, gender identity, sexual identity, ability, etc. you are practicing diversity and exclusion by using the idea of the thought process to discriminate against certain people. Differentiating thought should be a part of the diversity conversation, but it should not dominate how you define diversity.
These three-backward ass misinformed ways of thinking about D&I are somewhat true, but like a stereotype, they remain incomplete. Hence the dilemma of what to do first, the vice a versa. There should not be a first when it comes to thinking about D&I, there should be a simultaneously!
Diversity and Inclusion have to be built in every fiber of your company. They both have to exist simultaneously, you don’t get one without the other. They should be engrained in your company’s DNA, not like a separate chromosome. Your workplace culture and corporate brand has to wreak of D&I. You must build inclusive strategies into the following (but not limited to) areas:
1. Recruitment/Talent Acquisition
2. The Interviewing Process
3. Company and Departmental Annual Budgets
4. Learning and Development for ALL Employees
5. Your Core Values, Mission, Vision, and Strategic Plan
6. Succession Planning
7. HR Policies and Practices
8. Outcomes and Metrics
9. Marketing and Advertising
This list could go on, but for now, I will leave this here with you to think about as you are sitting with your teams, or alone thinking through strategies for DEI for 2018. If I haven’t said anything new to you, take it as a reminder that #DiversityMatters #InclusionMatters and #EquityMatters take these pearls with you as you go into the new year. To my DEI Champions, stay strong, we have our work cut out for us, but it is not hopeless, just hard. We got this!
Side note: One thing we know for sure is that there is an extreme need for benchmarking in order to gauge performance and to work through building DEI into the fiber of your company. Help my company solve this problem, Inclusology, by taking the survey below. See you in 2018!
Please complete our survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Inclusology