Brownicity • April 4, 2023
feature image source: https://musaalgharbi.com/2020/09/16/diversity-important-related-training-terrible/
Diversity programs have been implemented in many organizations with the goal of creating a more inclusive and equitable workplace. However, despite good intentions, many of these programs have failed to achieve their intended outcomes. Let’s explore some of the reasons why diversity programs may fail and what organizations can do to increase their chances of success.
One reason why diversity programs may fail is that they are not designed with a clear understanding of the specific issues and challenges facing the organization. Many programs are based on a one-size-fits-all approach, without taking into account the unique culture, demographics, and history of the organization. This can lead to a lack of buy-in from employees, as they may not see the relevance of the program to their specific situation.
Another reason why diversity programs may fail is that they are not integrated into the overall strategy and operations of the organization. Many programs are seen as an add-on or an afterthought, rather than being integrated into the day-to-day work of the organization. This can lead to a lack of accountability and follow-through, as there is no clear mechanism for tracking progress and holding employees and managers accountable for results.
In addition, many diversity programs are not given the necessary resources and support to be successful. This can include a lack of funding, staff, or training. Without adequate resources, programs may not be able to achieve their intended goals and may ultimately be seen as a waste of time and money.
Another reason why diversity programs may fail is that they are not inclusive enough. Many programs focus solely on increasing the representation of underrepresented groups, without addressing the underlying issues of bias and discrimination. This can lead to tokenism, where a few individuals from underrepresented groups are brought into the organization without any real changes to the culture and practices of the organization.
Finally, diversity programs may fail because they are not given enough time to take effect. Real change takes time and sustained effort, and many organizations expect immediate results from their diversity programs. This can lead to frustration and disappointment, as progress may be slow and difficult to measure.
In order for diversity programs to be successful, organizations must take a holistic approach that addresses the specific issues and challenges facing the organization. This includes conducting a thorough analysis of the current situation, setting clear goals and objectives, and developing a comprehensive plan of action.
It also requires making diversity and inclusion a strategic priority and integrating it into the overall operations of the organization. This includes involving all levels of the organization, from top management to front-line employees, in the process and holding everyone accountable for results.
Additionally, organizations must provide the necessary resources and support to their diversity programs, including funding, staff, and training. It’s also important to involve diverse groups and individuals in the design and implementation of the programs, to ensure that they are inclusive and address the needs of all groups.
Finally, organizations must be patient and understand that real change takes time. It’s important to set realistic expectations and be prepared for a long-term commitment.
In conclusion, diversity programs have the potential to create a more inclusive and equitable workplace, but they must be designed and implemented correctly in order to be successful. By taking a holistic approach, integrating diversity and inclusion into the overall strategy and operations of the organization, providing necessary resources and support, involving diverse groups, and setting realistic expectations, organizations can increase their chances of success.
Why Diversity Programs Fail And what works better by Frank Dobbin and Alexandra Kalev. Behavioral Science. https://hbr.org/2016/07/why-diversity-programs-fail. A version of this article appeared in the July–August 2016 issue of Harvard Business Review.
The Other Diversity Dividend – We know that varied teams make better decisions. A new study shows they also make better investments. by Paul Gompers and Silpa Kovvali. https://hbr.org/2018/07/the-other-diversity-dividend .A version of this article appeared in the July–August 2018 issue (pp.72–77) of Harvard Business Review.
Findings from the empirical literature focused on programs/initiatives designed to diversify an organization. Michel Estefan @michel_estefan A twitter thread.https://twitter.com/michel_estefan/status/1571159521955033095?s=12&t=Gfxq6TkkIZsEWO7AqJw0TQ