How to tell if you have a Diversity and Inclusion problem

Have you been wondering if you have a diversity and inclusion problem in your office or workspace? Speaking strictly from a statistical perspective, the chance you have one are quite high. 37% of minority professionals cite lack of inclusion as #1 reason to leave an employer. And on top of that, 72% of Corporate Leadership at 16/500 Fortune Companies is male. These statistics, along with many, many more, lead us to know that diversity is a far and wide spread problem. But maybe you’ve never thought that it applied to you. Here are some tips on how to identify the problem.

  1. Know the definition. Diversity is more than black and white or male and female. Look at any group that does not fit into the cis, straight, white male narrative of stereotyped, Mad Men-esq top business performers. Diversity means an array of backgrounds from different races, religions, genders, socio-economic backgrounds, and levels of education. It is important to value all forms of diversity and to extend inclusive practices to all people of diverse backgrounds, not only select groups.

  2. Look around. When you spin around in your office chair, what do you see? Is it a sea of faces that kind of resemble each other? Is it diverse? If you see more faces that look the same then ones that look different, it’s possible your office is not valuing diversity and inclusion. This includes more than outward appearances, of coure. It’s important to consider people’s education-- did they all go to the same Ivy League schools? Their sexuality-- are they all straight? And many other factors that lead to a diverse set of experiences and possible hardships that would make getting a high paying, high powered job an added challenged.

  3. Look up. When really attempting to see the problem, look at the top of the chain. How many women have bumped their heads of glass ceiling and could not break through to the top? Are people of color occupying corner offices and getting bonus checks? Seeing who is on top is an indication of the success of the diversity and inclusion in your office. Because workplaces with ineffective diversity and inclusion programs (or none at all) have a high rate of diverse employees leaving, it is less likely to see office minorities at the top. Diversity and inclusion is only working when minorities are able to achieve leadership and upper level positions. As Oprah and many more people have taught us, having diverse members at the top many inspire other members of minority groups to keep climbing the ladder aiming for greatness.

  4. Look down. Another common problem is to hire people of minority groups for less prestigious, lower paying jobs. Look at who is cleaning up, running the mail, and answering the phones versus who is taking clients out to lunch, has a private office, and high paying jobs. Just because there are many types of people present, does not mean diversity and inclusion is working in an effective way.

  5. Examine dress codes. Are sexist and racist dress codes in place at your place of work? Often there is a bias in dress codes against women and minorities, dictating which hairstyles and outfits are suitable. This does not mean that there cannot be a dress code, but if it seems that it could be unequally applied, you may need some Diversity and Inclusion help.

  6. Do people tend to leave? Members of office that are in the minority are likely to leave if the D&I isn’t there. So, if minority people keep leaving, it might be a good idea for your office to work on systems and programs that work to increase D&I.

  7. Programs, programs, programs. What existing programs do you have? If you have none, it is likely that there is a diversity and inclusion problem in your workplace. If you have them but people are not participating, it might be time for new workshops, programs, and incentives. Contact to talk about a better way to make D&I work in your office.

Take this seriously-- it is vital to the health of your company that D&I is strong in your workplace. Both, monetarily and morally. Focusing on a diverse team with inclusive practices will lead to a better workplace and more money being made. Get started now!

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