The Illusion of Inclusion

7 disingenuous diversity and inclusion pitfalls to avoid

Diversity and inclusion have become the latest buzz words inside organizations.  With fancy Corporate statements about the commitment to diversity and inclusion to newly formed employee resource groups, Corporate America is drinking the proverbial diversity and inclusion Kool-Aid from a fire hose.

The illusion of inclusion is code for well-intentioned behavior that is unhelpful.  The issue with short-term diversity and inclusion statements and initiatives is they are short-lived.  They are often words met with no real actions.  Inequality cannot be addressed by words alone; we need concrete steps to take action to drive true inclusion.

Diversity and inclusion is a journey not a destination.  Years of inequality cannot be undone in swift short-term actions.  It takes time to embed diversity and inclusion into the culture.  To avoid looking disingenuous, watch out for these pitfalls.

Poor measurement.  Anything that matters in business is measured.  If diversity and inclusion are important, they warrant metrics to measure success.  Consider measuring representation from minority groups throughout the employee experience from recruiting to hiring to pay to promotions to separations.

Smoking mirrors.  These are the false optics created by inauthentic website stock photos to financial contributions to minority charities.

Corporate speak.  No one wants to hear more rhetoric.  They want real, honest dialogues and stories about diversity and inclusion.  They want to hear CEOs and C-suite leaders sharing their perspectives and showing vulnerability and real emotion for the human side of work.

Lack of diversity.  C-suites and boards that are male and pale are normal, yet still a problem.  If you are committed to inclusion, you must be doing things to drive diversity the top layers of your organization.  White men need to be involved as allies.

Excuses.  Dismissively saying, “it is getting better” or “it has always been this way” or “our industry is male-dominated” is not okay anymore.  Accepting the status quo leads to more of the status quo.  If we want things to change, we have to be willing to lead the change.

Lack of resources.  With anything important in business, it requires time and money.  Diversity and inclusion are no different.

No definition.  Diversity and inclusion without clarity and intention are a big miss.  Have a documented, intentional statement outlining what diversity and inclusion mean, why they matter, and how we are taking action on them over time.

Do inclusion when it is not a buzz word.  When it is not as trendy.  That shows the mark of real inclusion.

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