The Diversity Scam: We Talk the talk but do we walk the walk

We have just recently undergone a decisive election era in which some very strong views have been expressed. Some of those comments made me take a moment and reflect on the status of diversity within this country and the workplace in particular.

One of the facts that became abundantly clear is that there is a dramatic change in the demographics of the society in which we live. Change is tough but when the majority suddenly finds itself in the minority it raises a wide range of responses. And this is where the Diversity Scam arises.

Let me lay some ground work before discussing my reasoning. We find ourselves in a rapidly changing business space. An organization only succeeds when it can meet two very interdependent factors The first is that we only succeed when we are competitive within the market. We constantly need to be aware and cognizant of the needs of our customers.Th other side of the coin is we must be innovative with what we offer to the marketplace. With the changing demographic we need to be open to the inclusion of a wide variety of ideas and backgrounds with the hiring of human capital assets. The problem seems to be , from my conversations with fellow HR professionals, that many of the members of the changing demographic seem to want to move to their organizations and organizations. Why?

The management tiers of our organizations have traditionally been occupied by white male members of our society. With this they have very set ways as to the methods that organizations should operate under. That philosophy is being challenged. The establishment is uncomfortable with what thi means for the future of their workplace.

The message from our customers and society is that diversity in the workplace is a necessity. So in order to appear as though we are part of the current global environment , the message is that all of our communications pieces from the recruiting brochure to the annual report sate that diversity is a key component of our strategy. But look at the organization as a whole and what do you find?

While there are many exceptional examples of organizations which walk the walk and talk the talk. The far greater numbers extend the message through the communication devices but never intend to follow through on it unless they are forced to jump through the hoops of the EEO-1 form. Instead what diversity is found within the organizations is restricted to the low paying lower levels of the organization. Restricted at the lower levels where what diversity does exist can be pushed off into back corner of the organization. These human capital assets are not exposed to the tools to move up the corporate ladder to reach that corner office.

The difficulty is that with "those people" now becoming the majority in the workplace, just talking the talk will not make the organization more sustainable. In fact it will make the organization less likely to succeed. Like most scams, the perpetrators eventually get caught and it comes back to haunt.

As we reach the Thanksgiving holiday season and the opening of the run to the end of year, we as organizational management need to re-assess our views and our initiatives. We need to understand and accept that the inclusion of the new normal demographics makes the diversity scam totally unacceptable in the marketplace.

It is time that organizational management come to recognize that they need to change their views of the workplace. First, this is not your father's company anymore. The demographics of the global workplace have changed and it will not survive with a less than true message. Second, the new generational workers are much more comfortable in an open society whether it is life or work and they will force you in the direction of full diversity And finally as a member of your organization's management team your goal is to protect the ability of the organization to survive into eternity. We can not do that if we purposely forget about a large percentage of the society within which we operate.

So stop for a moment and really analyze are you both talking the talk and walking the walk in regards to diversity. Tell me whether your organization is part of the scam or really believes in the inclusion of a wide range of views and attitudes represented by the changed demographics within your portals.

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Tags: HR, Leadership, Management

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