I recently saw a story that Ana DuVernay, the director from Selma, discuss that she doesn’t like the word, “diversity,” because it has “no emotional resonance.” Journalist Anna Holmes said,
“In reality—which is to say, when applied to actual people, not flora, fauna, or financial securities—the notion of diversity feels more fraught, positioning one group (white, male Americans) as the default, and everyone else as the Other,”
In some workplaces, diversity is an initiative and, for some, they have created positions who deal with diversity and inclusion because either of affirmative action or follow EEOC guidelines.
Let’s get this out of the way: race and gender is and will always be an issue in the workplace. How to limit the bias is actually complicated.
Some of the recruiters said that covering their name so there would be no biases. The problem is you have to meet the person after and, depending on your personality, they might be thrown-off at how they look. People suggest other moves like affirmative action, going to “diversity” events, and others. If you want a real solution to diversity, you have to look at the biggest barrier: culture.
I have mention this a thousand times on this blog and in real life, that culture is really a buzzword for people to hire that are similar to them. This is why, for some, diversity is a buzzword because companies want to use that term to attract candidates, through diversity has many different interpretations.
Why I’m combining culture and diversity is culture is basically the personality of who’s heading the company. The executives, directors, and managers are looking for people who are just like them. Already, women and people of color (POC) are at a disadvantage because for most of the upper level positions, it’s men and men have a certain structure and look they want. By the way, that’s the same case if women and POC are heading up their companies, but those opportunities are few and far between, but people say women leaders have a better understanding in that role.
Another reason for this divide is when companies tell you that they’re looking for cultural fit, they’re saying be like us. Cultural fit doesn’t make any sense of hiring someone. If they can do the work, why you need to mention culture? Cultural fit sounds like you want to get in the country club that you like to golf and network. You expect women and POC to follow your guidelines or rules that don’t have to do with your job?
Finally, why culture won’t work in today’s workplace is people are staying in shorter stints. As I mentioned before, your atmosphere (not culture) is what your leadership team sets to be. However, if one (or more) person leaves, then the workplace atmosphere changes with new leadership and you have different employees and the cycle continues every 1-5 years. Would you call that culture?
In hiring someone, don’t look for people who are cultural fit. Look for people who can enhance or transcend the company. This is why I prefer wild cards because they know what they’re doing, but have their own style and audience that maybe separate from the company they’re working for.
If you noticed, I did not give a solution on handling diversity. The thing is diversity takes a long time to figure it out with different viewpoints and different backgrounds. The process should be tough, but that’s the only way to solve the issue of diversity. The only question is will your leadership of the company see the big picture instead of dreaming their utopia that will never happened? Women and POC have done their job; it’s up to leadership to decide where they want to go next.