Why Do Diversity and Inclusion Issues Continue to Persist?

Despite the passage of several anti-discrimination laws at both the federal and state level, discrimination continues to persist in far too many workplaces. The answer to the question “Why do diversity and inclusion issues continue to persist?” is not an easy one to answer. This is especially true if you consider the many benefits of opening up the workplace to a diverse range of age, race, gender and ideological demographics.

The Benefits of Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives

Every professional you recruit, develop and retain for your organization brings a unique set of skills to the table. When you implement a diversity and initiative program, you are taking huge steps in making sure your organization benefits from a wide range of professional skill sets.

Let’s look at a few other reasons why diversity and inclusion initiatives should be a vital part of your company culture.

Different Views

If your company culture is all about everyone agreeing to everything all of the time, then you can ultimately expect the organizational culture to become stagnant. Perhaps the most important benefit of a diverse workforce is getting a wide variety of viewpoints on all things pertaining to the performance of the organization. Forbes released a survey that found 85% of the companies polled strongly agreed that "a diverse and inclusive workforce is crucial to encouraging different perspectives and ideas that drive innovation." The companies participating in the poll had annual revenues that exceed $500 million.

More Qualified Job Candidates

With one of the tightest job markets in American history, why would an employer deny qualified job candidates from any background? When your organization commits to recruiting a diverse group of qualified job candidates, you have a much larger pool of job candidates from which to select. This means expanding your recruiting strategy to include qualified job candidates throughout the world.

Reflecting Your Customer Base

Diversity is not just about attracting the brightest minds that have a wide range of professional perspectives. It is also about reflecting the composition of your customer base. Walk into any big box retailer and marvel at the wide range of cultural differences among the customers shopping at the store. America has become a model country for diversity among its population. Make sure your talented team of professionals reflects America’s diverse culture.

6 Reasons Why Diversity Issues Persist

When did the fork in the road occur for diversity and inclusion initiatives for companies operating within the United States? Many diversity experts point to the results of an internal study conducted by Google in 2014. The first diversity study conducted by the search engine giant revealed just two percent of its employees came from African American backgrounds. Although Google benefited from selling products to a diverse customer base, the company had not yet implemented diversity and inclusion initiatives that attracted a diverse workforce.

Google’s lack of diversity brings us to the first reason why diversity and inclusion issues persist.

Lack of Monitoring

You cannot expect to implement an effective diversity and inclusion initiative if your organization does not understand where it stands with diversity and inclusion. Until 2014, Google executives had little, if any idea about how monolithic it was when it came to the composition of its team of high tech employees. Organizations that continue to keep their heads in the sand will never discover the need to branch out and attract a more diverse workforce.

High Employee Turnover

As you know, employee turnover is a costly expense that also undermines the morale of the entire team. It also is a diversity killer because qualified professionals from diverse backgrounds will look elsewhere for a career. No one wants to be part of an organization that churns out employees at a high rate. In addition, organizations that provide career and financial incentives for high achievers to remain on board have a much better track record of implementing diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Recruiting Process is Not Inclusive

Diversity and inclusion starts with a recruiting process that expands well beyond typical recruiting strategies. Yes, holding a career day at a local college is still a compelling way to attract qualified job candidates. However, you have to try new strategies that include visiting different cultural centers to promote your organization. You cannot expect your organization to implement diversity and inclusion initiatives, if the organization remains stuck in the same outdate recruiting strategy.

It Starts at the Top

Companies that lack diversity in the executive ranks usually do not enjoy the many benefits of having a diverse workforce. In the Google example, the same company sponsored study in 2014 revealed a lack of diversity in leadership positions. One of the first things Google did to rectify the lack of inclusion and diversity was to launch an initiative that concentrated on recruiting a more diverse team of upper management executives. The diversification of its leadership team eventually led to the company successfully initiating diversity and inclusions programs that attracted a much more diverse team of high tech employees.

Lack of Legal Knowledge

Surprisingly, many organizations do not know about the anti-discrimination laws on the book or the organizations simply fail to comply with the guidelines set forth by the anti-discrimination laws. The legal ramifications of not implementing diversity and inclusion initiatives should be motivation enough to get the ball rolling on attracting a more diverse workforce.

Fearing Organizational Change

Google could have ignored the results of its internal study and decided to stay the course. After all, the search engine giant was already one of the most successful tech companies in the world. Instead, Google decided to change it company culture to be more inclusive in the way it attracted new employees. Google was not afraid of change, but unfortunately, many organizations embrace change about as favorably as the companies embrace higher taxes. Change should never be a dirty word for companies and non-profit organizations, particularly when it comes to unveiling powerful inclusion and diversity initiatives.