“I will cut to the chase, so you don’t even need to slog through the whole post. You have a “diversity problem?” Fire your managers. Today.” – Joe Gerstandt

I will cut to the chase, so you don’t even need to slog through the whole post. You have a “diversity problem?” Fire your managers. Today. Do it right now. Feel free to make some exceptions in the case of those who have actually built diverse teams and lead them in an inclusive way, but get rid of everyone else in charge of people and start over.

Sure, you can build a strategy. Strategy is awesome, you can even hire me to help you craft it, let me know if you have some dates in mind. Sure, you can build a diversity council and employee resource groups. Sponsor some things, attend some events. Slap your logo on a parade or two. And two years from now, your executives are going to sit around a table scratching their head over why we have invested X many dollars, but you have not really managed to change anything.

And then you will go chase some other “best practices,” and those executives will continue to say (especially when you are in the room) the kindest of things about D&I, but nothing is going to change because they are not changing.

Joe Gerstandt, HRExaminer Editorial Advisory Board Contributor.

Joe Gerstandt, HRExaminer Editorial Advisory Board Contributor.

With the possible exception of those folks who frequently use the phrase “diversity problem,” there is no such thing as a diversity problem. Diversity just is. We are a species positively riddled with difference, and the fact that there are still people in charge of other human beings questioning the “business case for diversity,” should serve as a blistering indictment on most of what is done and said in the name of leadership today. Do they also question the business case for spleens, or communication, gravity, or oxygen?

There are leaders of humans that care greatly about talent and realize that a) talent comes in a lot of different packages, b) we are not free of bias as humans and must invest real effort to reduce bias in our efforts to find and identify talent, c) diversity is a key driver of team performance, and d) working to make sure that opportunity and access are as widely distributed as talent and ability is fundamental to the idea of leadership. There are those leaders, and then there are the others. If you are not bringing diversity into your organization you have the wrong leaders.

And those leaders are putting you at a disadvantage.

There simply is no bigger lever for building a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture than the words, commitments, and actions of your leaders. What I continue to find though, is that the plan to build a more diverse workforce and a more inclusive culture rarely involves those leaders in any real way beyond “support, buy-in, and sponsorship.”

If they are not willing or able to change, then very little change is going to happen.

Read previous post:
HRExaminer v10.16

Doug Shaw recently spotted a tweet from his friend Trish McFarlane. Trish wrote, “Just thinking out loud ~ increased #productivity...