I recently saw the movie Black Panther along with millions of other people, and I came to the conclusion that many of them did: Women, and in this case, black women, are strong, wise and not to be messed with. So why does it seem like Corporate America is missing the memo?
Misguided and culturally insensitive blunders such as the racially insensitive Pepsi commercial with Kendall Jenner, Google’s disgruntled engineer intensifying male tech industry bias, the egregious casting decision in the movie Ghost in the Shell with whites playing Asians, and the complexity of L’Oréal firing a transgender black woman after her comments about race—all of these highlight the need for companies to incorporate diversity into their conversations at work.
A recent financial study of 1,000 large companies by McKinsey & Co. found that the more diverse the management, the higher the profits, compared with companies composed of less diversity. Companies in the top 25% with the most ethnic executives outperformed other firms with profits 33% higher than those in the bottom 25% with fewer ethnic workers. Firms more inclusive of women in management showed 21% more revenue than those with fewer women in executive roles.
Deloitte has made the decision to phase out employee resource groups over the next 18 months. As you read that sentence, you’re probably wondering: “What’s the big deal?”
It’s a move that doesn’t only affect its nearly 250,000 employees worldwide. It potentially affects hundreds of thousands of employees outside of Deloitte because of its reputation as a company that knows what it’s doing when it comes to diversity. Deloitte has been, according to the press release, “a recognized pioneer in female promotion and social inclusion initiatives” and a DiversityInc Top 10 Company for Global Diversity. So now that it’s done something that pulls the foundation out from under the building blocks of diversity, I wonder what to do about it.
Having diverse workers leads to greater success—but how can you attract and retain them?
Diversity in the workplace can always be improved—and it should, if only because it makes business sense. Having a diverse workforce can improve not only profitability, but innovation, customer relationships and employee retention.
According to a report by McKinsey & Company, a company with diverse employees is more likely to be more profitable and successful than those with less diversity. Specifically, a company is 15 percent more likely to turn a profit above the national average if a company has gender diversity, and 35 percent more likely if a company has racial and ethnic diversity. “The reason for that is because of the diversity of thought and ideas that comes from the diversity of experiences that people have,” explains Stacey Gordon, chief human capital consultant at training and consulting organization Rework Work.
John Iino, chief diversity officer at law firm Reed Smith, states that putting an emphasis on greater diversity and inclusion has directly benefited them. “[Diversity] really lends itself to better relationships with clients because you have some common values,” he shares. As the world becomes more interconnected, issues of diversity rise to the forefront, and many companies are taking note. “We see so many of our clients supporting and embracing diversity,” Iino adds. “We’re able to make stronger connections with them—that’s obviously important as a business.”
You don’t have to put dirt in your mouth to know it tastes bad – some things you just know. Or you are at least willing to trust the experience of others who have tried it. I treated the #GoogleManifesto in the same way at first. I didn’t need to read a long, rambling document to know that it’s contents are not good. But I did need to read it to provide a perspective on what to do about it. (Sigh – sometimes work is hard.)
The questions I’ve heard that people want answers to are:
- What does Google do about it?
- Is this a sign that others at Google feel the same?
- Does all of Silicon Valley also agree?
Microsoft announced they are working to accelerate a “skills-based labor market” and immediately I wondered what companies have been hiring for previously, if not for skills. I’m sure those of you who have applied for a job again and again, only to be rejected or ignored, have wondered the same thing.
The New York Times reporting of the subject clarifies that in this ‘new’ way of looking at job applicants, “skills can be emphasized over traditional hiring filters like college degrees, work history and personal references.” From a recruiting perspective, I still believe in personal references because hearing first-hand from someone who has witnessed or benefited from your skills is extremely valuable when evaluating a candidate.
LinkedIn recently asked CEO’s to share insights about diversity and it brought me back to a discussion I had with the Los Angeles Business Journal when I was asked to join their inaugural Diversity & Inclusion Summit happening next month. We discussed the fact that many companies know they need to do something about diversity but they don’t know what that something is. And they don’t know how to begin.
And that is how initiatives like blind hiring get started. Blind hiring is the attempt to counter the phenomena of hiring managers and recruiters choosing candidates with a similar demographic background as their own by removing identify information like the candidate’s name and education background or conducting anonymous interviews through voice-masking technology.
Equal Pay Day is the symbolic day dedicated to raising awareness of the gender pay gap. The date changes each year because it symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year. The exact day differs by year and by country, but what the day fails to represent is the huge wage gap for women of color.
Let’s be clear, it is deplorable that it takes more than 3 months into the next year for women to earn what men earned the prior year, based upon a $0.20 difference in earnings, but for woman of color, our deficit is far greater. Equal pay day for African American women is in August and for Latina women it doesn’t come until November. Women represent nearly 50% of the U.S. workforce so with increasing numbers of families relying on women’s paychecks for their livelihood, we must acknowledge and address the wage gap for the sake of our financial stability.
I was reading an article about age bias and discrimination with the premise that new research shows it’s harder to get hired when you’re older and my first thought was, “this isn’t new.” People have been battling this problem for decades and it gets worse when the economy dips because there are fewer jobs to go around. But I guess they meant to say the new research confirms the bias so I won’t nitpick.
When I was recruiting I could guess the age of a person by their work history. That’s the biggest and most obvious way to do it. Candidates want to demonstrate their experience so they put all of it in their resume. All 34 years! But there’s no need because you only need to show 10-15 years of work history in your resume. Anything older than that probably won’t be relevant to the job anyway.