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What's Your Take on Diversity?

In the comments section of Few Women, Minorities in Top Job Despite Diversity, a reader said that it's irrelevant of having diversity in the workplance and that producing results and creating value are more important. He also writes: "If women and minorities are not making it to the top, perhaps there is a reason for that?"

What's your view on furthering diversity and inclusivity in the profession? 

 

 

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Jan 31st 2018 17:46

While I personally don't care about a persons' "person", meaning I focus on an applicant's skill set, it's sort of a Catch-22 situation for an organization to be diverse. By that I mean that in order to be pro-actively be diverse, one must, by definition, discriminate in favor of the diversity objective.

Case in point: I had a friend who put 4 years in the Air Force in the Fired Department. He should have been able to waltz in to any fire department in the US and simply step in to a job. However, because he wasn't part of any targeted "equal opportunity" class, he COULDN'T be hired by any fire agency in our state. Sad, really.

I personally think the answer is to create some sort of objective/anonymous hiring process whereby the applicant's race/ethnicity is hidden until the hiring decision/actual job offer has been made, then all the details will come out during reference checking/background checks, etc. I think we have the technology to do this. For example:

Submitted resumes should only list past positions. Any telephone interview could be had with some sort of voice distorter and even "in-person" interviews could be done from behind a curtain. Education could be listed as "BS Degree from an accredited higher education institution..." All this is far fetched, I know, but I think y'all get my point...

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By SLV
Jan 31st 2018 21:34

Results can be limited when only one kind of person is in leadership roles at any entity. We don't see our own limitations/prejudices when we run the show the way we feel is right, and we all have preferences that impact our ability to accomplish the most. Taking the time to encourage and develop leaders of different backgrounds (skin colors, genders, faiths, ages, cultures, etc.) has a long term positive impact on business. The lowest fruit comes from the clients you can attract by having diverse leaders clients are comfortable working with. It can be harder to see that working in a diverse environment and doing things differently can also expand your (and your firms') ability to handle more and grow organically with the times.

I do acknowledge that taking time to look for and invest in growing a diverse leadership structure will push others further behind in climbing the ladder. However, I think more damage would be done to my career trajectory if I found I was working somewhere that followed a path that few others were following - leaving me with a perceived reduced skill set and fewer prospects to grow my own business.

**I have been working for over 25 years, and I know that while the men who ran the show when I first started working wanted to be open minded, they really weren't. Looking back there were some very foolish decisions made based on doing things the "right way" according to the men that ended up hurting in the long run.

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