Author: Deanna Ritchie
Original Article: readwrite.com
Diversity seems to be the topic on everyone’s minds today, and yet many businesses can’t seem to be fully diverse the way they’d like to. More often than not, lack of diversity isn’t due to some kind of hidden malice. Creating diversity for your business is difficult, and there are many technical snags you’ll need to avoid during the process.
4 Reasons Your Company Isn’t as Diverse as it Could Be
If you want your business to be diverse, you’ll need to be prepared to open up your mind and make some necessary changes. Here are some snags you may run into along the way:
1. Lack of Diverse Leadership
Diversity should be neither bottom-up nor top-down — it should come unilaterally across an organization. If your leadership isn’t diverse, diversifying other areas of your business is going to be significantly more difficult. Diverse senior management will naturally guide a company towards diversity as a whole, while non-diverse leadership may remain fixated on other priorities.
Lack of diverse top management in a company is a simple principle that is one of the biggest barriers to diversity today. According to a report from DiversityJobs, some 78% of C-suite executives are men and 85% are white. The sooner those numbers begin to swell and change, the sooner the impact will be felt at all levels of an organization.
Set the wheel in motion at the top
Think of diversifying your company’s leadership as setting the wheel in motion: the action itself will continue to affect change far beyond the C-suite.
2. Focusing Only On Employees
The go-to definition of professional diversity is having a diverse team. But building a diverse team is not the only thing a business can do to support a more diverse world. You can’t simply be a diverse outpost in a homogenous landscape. Your business needs to seek to encourage and empower diversity far beyond its walls.
Consider the entire landscape of your business
Think about all of the vendors, suppliers, and partners you currently maintain. Do all of them meet your own diversity standards? This is a question that more and more companies are being forced to ask themselves. For this reason, Certifiably Diverse — a platform that connects businesses with diverse suppliers in their area or industry — has grown so much recently.
The new diversity frontier
It may take a little assistance — but insisting on the “greater good of diversity” beyond just your business is the new diversity frontier.
3. Too-Narrow a Definition of “Diversity”
It is important to have a business in which ethnicities, cultures, and genders well-represented. However, these are not the only contributing factors towards determining someone’s identity.
No less important are factors such as age, socioeconomic background, or religious beliefs. These qualities can all contribute to offices that truly embrace a multiplicity of perspectives.
Your end goal of diversity should not solely be to make your business look more like the world at large. You also need to consider as many factors as possible regarding what makes an office truly diverse? How are you representing your company to yourself, your employees and the world?
4. Homogenous Optics
Businesses owned by people of color have a long history — one that extends well into the present — of hiding the diversity of their founders or employees to “fit in.”
The front-facing side of businesses — salespeople, spokespeople, recruiters, and so on is overwhelmingly white. Or is it? Have we only shown a “white face,” and has business success actually been carried out with more people of color at the top than we know?
It’s time to see the truth. Many have had to hide their origins, nationality, color, etc., to fit in is a sad commentary about all of us. This fact alone can stifle diversity efforts both within and beyond your company.
The key here is to make sure that your business looks as diverse as it really is; show off your diversity like the asset it really is.
Diversity is something that needs to be striven for, but make sure you avoid these pitfalls along the way.
A truly diverse business is one ready to face whatever challenges the modern world throws at it — everyone working together with best efforts. Isn’t that something worth investing in?
Image Credit: fauxels; pexels; thank you!