Remember all those articles you read five years ago about diversity being a pivotal focus of the 2020 workplace? You probably even read one this morning. The fact is that companies still truly don’t care about diversity. It’s all lip service. I know because D&I is a huge part of my job AND I have seen the inner D&I workings of several companies. You are probably thinking that I am wrong because, heck, Google spent $150 million on diversity initiatives but I am not and here are 10 reasons why I am right:
- Companies are burning through “diversity” cash but it’s not doing much. The example I will use here is the tech industry. Lots of money is spent but no clear gains are made. It’s almost like companies are passively investing and think diversity will come on its own. You can’t buy diversity! It’s clear they don’t care. If they did, they would take actions are truly impactful and that money can’t buy.
- Sexual harassment is still the norm in executive ranks. Sorry, I hate to call this out but we can’t turn our heads at this anymore. #metoo and other movements are finally holding executives accountable. In many workplaces I have been in, having that kind of power is a benefit and it’s almost impossible to intervene in affairs and other activities that create a hostile environment. Many times, these things happen on the road and are never reported. Hopefully, that changes.
- Women of color are still ignored. Read the McKinsey Women in the Workplace report and you will see that black women are still profusely lagging behind their other women of color colleagues. These women are often left out of diversity initiatives and I don’t see that changing in the near future because it’s a taboo topic that nobody wants to discuss. “Women’s initiatives” are code for white women’s wishlists.
- Unfortunately, diversity is still all about training. When was the last time you witnessed a difficult conversation that led to diversity progress? How is it that we are almost to 2020 and still don’t recognize that training creates awareness, not change. Many companies do not even reward employees for having D&I conversations (activities that are much more impactful) yet their employees are repeatedly required to participate in automated training courses littered with content that that they soon forget. This is how companies pretend to be committed, they brag about the amount of money they are spending and blame their lack of progress on other factors.
- Companies are still struggling to articulate the power of diversity so many employees still have not bought into it. Why is diversity important? If you asked 10 people in one company this same question, would you get different answers? Well, there’s the root of the problem.
Sorry to be a downer but these five points are true and you know it. The reason why you don’t challenge it is because you are either apathetically fed up or make six figures as a diversity leader. Why be contentious when you are living large and paying the bills?