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DEI NEW IDEALS & OBJECTIVES – FALSE FLAGS- Issue 227 – September 2023 | Article of the Week

There are still organisations that fail to embrace diversity genuinely. Instead, they have resorted to what can only be described as “diversity dishonesty” – a form of lip service – and lack commitment to foster a truly inclusive and diverse work environment or even have a bare minimum level of commitment to mandatory legal directives and quotas. Unfortunately, this approach negatively impacts both the organisation and the people within them.

There are still organisations that fail to embrace diversity genuinely. Instead, they have resorted to what can only be described as “diversity dishonesty” – a form of lip service – and lack commitment to foster a truly inclusive and diverse work environment or even have a bare minimum level of commitment to mandatory legal directives and quotas. Unfortunately, this approach negatively impacts both the organisation and the people within them.

Businesses should focus on the bigger picture beyond profitability or performance and harness the additional opportunities that come with diversity and inclusion. Firms should also go beyond short-term wins and aim for long-term opportunities, reach out to underrepresented communities and leave footprints as a brand. Brand loyalty among LGBTQ+ is extremely high and research by Community Marketing Inc. & Harris Interactive states that 70 percent of LGBTQ+ adults would pay a premium for a product from a company that supports the LGBTQ+ community. Another research indicates that 69 percent of Black consumers are more likely to proactively seek out a brand with advertising that positively reflects their race/ethnicity. Businesses can also consider apprentice initiatives, female leadership initiatives and programmes aimed at enabling women to secure leadership roles. Such programmes can ensure that all areas of an employee’s journey and life cycle are positively impacted, with long-term goals clearly mapped out for women, Black and ethnic minorities, as well as other underrepresented groups. Diversity dishonesty, tokenism and superficial support for DEI are damaging. Organisations must move beyond surface-level efforts and truly understand the complexity and nuance of diversity. DEI goes beyond the basic binary issues of race and gender. It encompasses various dimensions such as ethnicity, age, religion, disability and socio-economic background

Diversity dishonesty and tokenism can have serious consequences for both the individuals involved and the company as a whole. Moving forward, there are steps you can take to do more and create a truly inclusive work environment. Recognising the problem: The first step in eliminating diversity dishonesty and tokenism is recognising its existence. Tokenism can take many forms, such as hiring practices that prioritise diversity over qualifications or selecting a few people from underrepresented groups to serve on a committee to give the appearance of inclusivity. Review your policies and practices to see if they are promoting tokenism. Focusing on equity: Equity means treating everyone fairly and creating an environment where everyone has equal opportunities to succeed. Use ongoing training to provide education on topics such as unconscious bias, privilege and allyship to foster a shared language and understanding among employees. Examine areas such as recruitment, promotions, compensation and performance evaluations to identify and eliminate any biases.

Ensuring representation across all levels: To eliminate tokenism, it’s important to ensure that underrepresented groups are represented at all levels of the organisation, not just in entry-level positions. Create programmes that will help people who are under-represented and women gain leadership positions. Recruit diverse panellists during interviews, bringing a new dimension to your recruitment process for a more diverse workforce. Creating a safe space for open communication: This means allowing employees to share their thoughts and ideas without fear of retaliation. Emphasise the importance of confidentiality and ensure that conversations and discussions are conducted in a non-judgmental and supportive manner. Encourage employees to speak up about their experiences and opinions. Take action to address any issues that are raised. Avoiding stereotyping: Stereotyping is a form of bias that can lead to tokenism. Avoid making assumptions about individuals based on their race, gender, or other characteristics. Establish, develop and enforce comprehensive policies that explicitly prohibit discrimination, harassment and stereotyping in the workplace. Evaluate and alter your internal processes susceptible to prejudices stemming from stereotypes, such as job application processes, the recruitment process and promotion decisions. Measuring progress: Finally, collect data on diversity and inclusion within your organisation and use that data to make informed decisions about future policies and practices. Develop a DEI scorecard based on the goals you have set to achieve. Incorporate softer nonobvious measures such as diverse employee retention, number of active allies and other metrics unrelated to hiring or promotion. Removing diversity dishonesty and tokenism from your company’s culture is a long-term process but it’s worth the effort. The need for a holistic DEI strategy: DEI should be approached as an organisation-wide initiative rather than a mere checklist of tasks. It requires top-down commitment from senior executives in HR to create a culture that values and embraces diversity at every level. Organisations should adopt evidence-based and metrics-driven approaches to achieve a holistic DEI strategy. This means collecting data, measuring outcomes and holding leaders accountable for progress.

To effectively gauge the impact, several indices can be considered. Firstly, representation indices examine the diversity within an organisation, such as the percentage of women and people of colour from underrepresented groups in leadership positions. Secondly, retention indices measure the rate at which diverse employees stay with the company over time, indicating the inclusivity of the workplace. Thirdly, promotion indices analyse the advancement opportunities available to diverse employees, ensuring fair and equal career progression. Additionally, engagement indices evaluate employee satisfaction and commitment. Finally, market indices assess customer satisfaction, loyalty and brand reputation in relation to DEI efforts. To measure the impact of DEI comprehensively, you need to establish clear objectives, collect relevant data, analyse findings, identify areas for improvement, implement changes and monitor progress over time. Leveraging diversity as a catalyst for organisational success: Embracing diversity brings numerous advantages to organisations. A diverse workforce fosters a wide range of mindsets and perspectives, which leads to innovative problemsolving and better decision-making.

Research by Boston Consulting Group indicates that companies with diverse management teams have 19 percent higher revenue due to innovation. Promoting diversity in the boardroom is crucial for organisational success. A study conducted by Credit Suisse found that companies with at least one woman on the board outperformed all-male boards by 26 percent in terms of stock performance over six years. Overcoming challenges and driving genuine representation and inclusion: While progress has been made in advancing diversity and inclusion, there are still several challenges to overcome. Here are practical strategies that can pave the way for creating an inclusive business and fostering an inclusive culture. Community: Engage in different diverse community groups via social media. Build brand awareness and an image of what you do and how you do it. Reverse mentoring: Set up a coffee date virtual or face-to-face to meet with someone who has differences from you and get to know them better without judging them. Conferences, round tables and day workshops: Invite diverse audiences and if you notice that your speakers are not diverse, challenge why not and ensure that there is equal representation. Accessibility: Set up network events or courses that cater for all audiences and abilities. Think about things like accessibility for disabilities, times for those with children or maybe those who may be fasting. Take the action needed to make an impact, don’t just glean the information and do nothing with it. Also, use diverse language in all of your communications to become a well-rounded and diverse business. It is time to move beyond tokenism and embrace a comprehensive DEI strategy that addresses the complexity and nuance of diversity. By leveraging diversity as a catalyst, organisations can foster innovation, improve decision-making and better serve their diverse customer base.


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