In the vast majority of organizations, social diversity programs and inclusion programs fail. The reasons behind these failures is usually the same: diversity programs are often poorly thought out and don't include a culture change. Instead, they're created to comply with corporate requirements rather than actually addressing the core cultural problems within the business.
Where HR Fails
The majority of diversity programs are aimed at HR, forcing HR personnel to tick boxes and ensure that state or federal hiring policies are met. If they're lucky, it also includes a diversity element of current employees, ensuring that appropriate numbers of minorities are hired.
However, this doesn't address the main issue with diversity: not enough businesses are creating opportunities for growing minority groups and underserved employees, and this is why these policies must move out of HR if businesses want to experience a substantial culture change.
A Fundamental Misunderstanding
Diversity and inclusion is not just about having the right numbers of certain individuals in the right places. This is a grossly oversimplified answer to a more intrinsic issue. Why does you company need a cultural diversity plan? What would this plan change or achieve within your company? These questions must be answered, but many businesses cannot answer these two questions with any level of detail, which creates focus issues.
Looking at the Reality
Many businesses need diversity and inclusion programs, but these programs must lead to prominent culture changes within the organization. This means company leaders must take actions that help change people's mindset about what underserved minorities can achieve, and they must provide appropriate support while consistently encouraging minorities to achieve specific goals within the organization. The culture change must be about achieving results, not getting on a diversity management list.
Instead of looking at diversity using a one-size-fits-all approach, embrace the fact that every employee is different. Be consistent with your culture change strategies throughout your organization, and recognize that each employee contributes to the identity of your organization, resulting in a cultural mosaic.
Creating a culture change within your organization also means working with your employees to develop precise cultural inclusion plans. It might also mean listening to the experiences of your employees throughout the organization with respect to diversity and the challenges they face being a minority.
People Are Important
Rather than thinking of people as resources, rethink your approach, and focus on individuals rather than generic demographics. This is significant when it comes to creating a culture change for many businesses, because it requires workers at all levels to be more open-minded.
Ultimately, you need a diversity strategy that goes to the heart of your business culture. Embracing diversity means your business emphasizes the importance of people rather than demographic stereotypes.
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