Diversity Initiatives Are Doomed to Fail Without Support from Within

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The death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minnesota reverberated around the nation and beyond, raising awareness of many forms of discrimination. Among those eager to do something constructive have been leaders of the nation’s business community.

These leaders have been motivated by not only a personal sense of justice but also the special responsibility they hold as executives of companies and leaders of institutions where various forms of subtle, and sometimes not-so-subtle, discrimination are often still widespread.  

But what’s a leader to do? You can’t just order an end to racism or an increase in diversity by executive decree; it doesn’t work that way. Gone, too, are the days when a CEO could delegate the issue to the company’s HR department, directing it to “take care of the matter.” 

It doesn’t work that way either, nor does the idea of conducting an employee survey to rate the degree of equality in the business provide an acceptable basis for action.  

Build Support from Within

Business leaders need to acknowledge that social justice issues, although difficult, need to be addressed and that companies need to play a role in that effort. These are not one-and-done conversations. They need to go far beyond a companywide supportive e-mail. Leaders need to start and continue essential conversations about diversity, leading to progress and positive change.

In particular, CEOs need a strategy that secures “buy-in” from most of the organization’s employees—a bottom-up approach rather than a top-down one. For many companies, that involves implementing an idea that originated with their current employees and that percolated upward as it gained support. A committee of employees can then be formed to roll out the resulting initiatives.

Crowdsourcing ideas on specific diversity initiatives and harvesting input from hundreds or even thousands of employees can also unify employees behind the actions a company can take…

Source: HR Daily Advisor

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