Statements and Donations are Not Enough for True Inclusion
If your organization was one of the many that made a statement about anti-racism or perhaps even donated money to go to support Black Lives Matter, you’re not alone. The challenge is, that one year following those corporate statements and donations, little has changed to truly end systemic racism. Because of the complexities of systemic racism, getting to the core of the issues affecting people of color can be difficult.
Antiracism is a tenuous, long-term effort. One that all people need to be involved in, especially those that created the systems to benefit them the most (think voting, policing, housing, financial markets). All of these systems were largely created by White men to serve White men. With people of color forecasted to be the majority in the 2040’s, we have a lot of work to do to create inclusive systems that represent the shifting demographics.
Customers are Holding Organizations Accountable
Customers will be holding organizations accountable to do this. We believe that change is more quickly facilitated in Corporate America than in our political and social systems. Corporate America can be the catalyst for change. Not just because it’s the right thing to do for humans, but because there’s an obvious business case associated with diversity. Not mirroring your customer base and the communities in which you serve is an obvious problem. Among the risks are lower Innovation, lower productivity, and less quality in your products and services.
A lack of diversity = a risk of irrelevance
Customers will be asking what are you really doing to support diversity. Are you just talking about diversity, or are you actually doing something about it? If you don’t have a good answer to that question, it’s never too late to get started on the journey. We’ve found our clients with successful diversity and inclusion programs have three things in common. They are very intentional with their overall diversity strategy, they’re very consistent in communications and education programs to support diversity, and their senior leadership team is highly engaged and committed to diversity long-term.
There’s an old adage, what gets measured gets done. Another: inspect what you expect. This applies to diversity efforts. If you’re not measuring progress on diversity, how can you know that you’re being successful? Accountability starts with measurement. Measuring not just demographics and recruiting and hiring numbers, but digging into all aspects of the employee experience from recruiting to separations. Who are you promoting? How are you measuring pay equity? Who’s missing on your senior leadership team? What perspectives are you missing out on?
If you don’t have good answers to those questions, you’re not alone. But you’re likely behind. This conversation has to start at your leadership team level. Customers are no longer willing to accept excuses for bad behavior and poor representation. They’re demanding more. They’ll continue to demand more with not just their words, but their dollars.
Allies take action.. They do hard things. They have candid conversations. To get the conversation started in your organization, consider asking these five questions:
- Why does our organization care about diversity and inclusion?
- What would our organization look like if it were more diverse and inclusive?
- What would we gain by being more diverse and inclusive?
- What is holding us back from maximizing diverse groups of people?
- What is one thing we can do to positively impact diversity and inclusion?
We’ve got a free full video tutorial series and blog series to help facilitate this important conversation.