Diversity and Inclusion
So how much do you trust the diversity programs that exist within your company?
Racism is concealed deep within many corporates, and the reality is that many people fear that if they make the wrong decisions or are on the wrong side of racist or diversity issues, their job could be at stake. Humans subconsciously make decisions based on biases, rather than on facts and logic. Sadly, employers and employees often base their decisions and judgements on unconscious biases despite their best intentions. Thoughts such as "They are different to me "or "They don't know what they're doing" are common. The challenge for many can be getting out of their perspectives temporarily and appreciating someone else’s experience.
Many corporates are wanting to be seen to proactively address issues around diversity, especially on the back of the Black Lives Matter movement. However, this can often leave diversity personnel in a tricky position because they are expected to successfully maintain a comfortable ratio of all diversities, in which all social groups are represented. This can be tough to navigate when an organisation's mindset is fixed in old behaviours and attitudes, which can often provide predictability.
So how much do you trust the diversity programs that exist within your company? Have you considered that your existing methods may be redundant, and therefore, a waste of time and resources? Over the last few months, I have been contacted by Human Resources and Diversity personnel who have shared the difficulties in correcting errors rooted deep in the organisation's ideologies. Many have expressed the invisible factors such as managerial and staffing prejudice and resistance to change. The fears are "if we change, if we do not engage in the same predictable behaviour patterns with each other, then who are we?". On an individual basis, people question "who am I?".
If there is a fixed, rigorous routine and policy that has to be followed, many people will lose interest. Employees have expressed imagining pain and loss when their organisation introduces change. If an organisation attempts to rush their diversity plans, they risk causing even more significant challenges that are harder to resolve.
Human beings are creatures of habit and many are not open to changing their way of being as their beliefs, values and principles are deeply ingrained. For example, a common statement is "Why do we need to think about colour, I accept people as people." This stance often limits the probability of acknowledging the black experience. It also shuts down any room for a new kind of sharing that can develop from appreciating both similarities and differences.
If a system provides no room to move, people often commit to rebelling against it, which is not conducive to any organisation. A system that is backed by mutual support has the flexibility to be creative. If there is a possibility for creativity, there is room for growth. Tolerance around change is needed because it involves a language of inclusion to all diversities. It has a "we" and an "us" focus versus an "I" and the "you". If an inspired, collective work environment is created, employees, can open themselves up and be more productive. People can start adopting an attitude of acceptance and tolerance towards each other. The organisations' focus needs to be on the gain and growth that is possible with collective change.
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