Why is diversity so important?
If you are a business and you start seeing sluggish sales numbers, what do you do? What do you do in the face of a changing demographic and changing society? Do you go complain to your congressional representative that old white men aren’t getting enough respect and are being harassed and discriminated against? I hope not. The world turns. Societies change. Empires fall and are forgotten. If you want your corporate empire to last as long as humanly possible then you need to evolve and change with the times. Embrace the new realities and become one with the society that the new demographics represent. But how do you do that? You aren’t Madonna. You can’t just re-invent yourself and put out a new album and instantly earn millions of more dollars.
No, you are a massive, sluggish, and beastly corporation that has difficulty picking its own nose. So, instead you go after people from these new cultures and backgrounds that are now more represented in your target demographic. The only way to truly improve and change is to actually improve and change. So many corporate identities are wrapped in a gossamer current, only semi-transparent, enough to see that they say they care about diversity but not transparent enough to actually know if they care.
Women and people of color in business are the biggest categories when it comes to a diversified workforce. Currently, although diversity in leadership statistics has shown that women in leadership roles has increased by 20% in the last decade, women only make up 25% of the technology workforce and only 6% are CEOs of all Fortune 500 companies. We don’t even have to discuss the lack of integration and inclusion people of color feel in regard to the current state of the workforce. Let’s challenge any corporate company to show that people of color make up a reasonably percentage of their workforce, outside the lowest rung of the corporate ladder.
Can businesses just hire more diverse people?
No, most can’t just hire a more diverse workforce because in reality they aren’t interested in hiring a more diverse workforce. What happens is that they put out press releases that show their commitment to diversity or publish ads for their products that show an inclusive lifestyle. That type of pandering is very different from actually internalizing the concept of diversity. Knowing and understanding something is very different from practicing something.
Instead of sending messages, these corporate giants need to start focusing on the team-driven successful implementation of diversity programs. They need to focus on data driven analytics of actual hiring rates and retention rates. They have to stop using buzz words and flagrantly ignorant hiring practices that all but eliminate the ability of someone from the other side of the tracks to get a corporate job.
What is diversity fatigue?
When you speak out of both sides of your mouth, you are committing to one idea without the intention of following through. This is the basis of diversity fatigue. Let’s put it in another situation. How often do you believe a politician? Are you tired of how many times they make promises? Are you tired of even listening to them talk because they barely say anything of actual content or utility? This is the same idea with diversity fatigue. Companies talk about a growing workforce diversity so much that the employees in charge of implementing the programs because tired of the work. People start to get tired with talking about inclusion and diversity when they know for certain that nothing will actually change.
Can you fight diversity fatigue?
Yes, fighting diversity fatigue is possible. But the solution may be very difficult to understand. You have to be highly educated to understand this advanced concept. What is the solution you ask?
Well, let’s look at the problem one more time. The assumption is that companies are talking too much about how much they want to be diverse and agree with diversity and love being inclusive. The result is that the general public has become nauseated with the message. The reason is that nothing changes. That is the set up.
What is the solution based on this problem? It’s a wild concept but I think that the answer is to “actually hire a diverse workforce.” I know. You are thinking, that is crazy talk! Well, studies have shown that if you hire a diverse work force, you will actually have a diverse workforce. When you fulfill your promises, good things can actually happen.