Reaping performance and efficiency gains from inclusion and microinequities
‘You can’t do it that way’ a Head of Diversity informed me she had been told by her industry network colleagues when she had described her plan to drive her firm’s global diversity & inclusion (D&I) strategy through inclusion and microinequities. You must start with the six strands, they advised. So here she was discussing it with me; but without informing me of either of her plan or the reaction of her colleagues. She was surprised when my immediate response was to offer an approach that was identical to her intention.
Here are my three main reasons for believing the Head of Diversity to be correct:
1. The primary cause of individuals experiencing exclusion is that they are not members of the historically dominant culture (usually masculine and of the dominant race of the host country) and experience microinequities, i.e. patterns of negative micro messages, e.g. regularly being interrupted when they are speaking; a lack of attention being given to their opinions and views. These result in feelings of inequality, being undervalued and exclusion, i.e. the individual does not feel fully involved in their organisation’s efforts.
2. The six strands, i.e. age, disability, ethnicity and race, faith, gender and sexual orientation, exclude key diversity elements, e.g. social class, educational background, physical appearance, work experience, accent, which can be primary causes of exclusion.
3. The business benefits, i.e. profit generation and, or, efficiency gains, from D&I are won when the organisational culture embraces all differences, not just the six strands, and everyone feels fully included in delivering success for the organisation.
The 2009 best practices, in response to the recession, have described how organisations can deliver significant returns from D&I. This month’s best practice continues with that theme. Next month I will describe the steps that organisations need to take to deliver the massive profit generation and efficiency gains available from inclusion.
Dr Ian Dodds,
27 July 09
· Your diversity strategy must emphasise the need to build a productive, inclusive and meritocratic culture for all!
· The principal and unrecognised cause of workplace exclusion - microinequities
· Building an inclusive culture - putting in the effort