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Our Diversity Program Isn't Working. What Are We Doing Wrong?

Assuming that you're truly stuck, here are some things to consider.

Edge Editors, Dark Reading

September 9, 2020

2 Min Read
(Image: freshidea via Adobe Stock)

Question: Our diversity program isn't working. What are we doing wrong?

Helen Patton, CISO and AVP, The Ohio State University: It takes time and attention before Diversity becomes Inclusion becomes Equity becomes Part of the Culture. So if your program isn't working, start by asking how you're measuring that progress and whether you've given yourself enough time to see results.

Assuming that you're truly stuck, here are some things to consider:

Pipeline problem: Are you finding diverse candidates in your candidate pools? If not, you may be too narrow in the way you define your roles or where you post your positions. Ensure your jobs only ask for the minimum of required skills, and make sure you're using social networks and word of mouth to intentionally put those positions in front of underrepresented communities. 

Retention problem: Maybe you're attracting diverse talent, but maybe they aren't staying. How inclusive are you? Do you have employee networking groups for underrepresented people so they can find support? Does your leadership walk the walk in welcoming, mentoring, and sponsoring minorities? Do your HR policies support underrepresented groups? Does your wall art reflect the diversity you want? Do the networking/social events welcome minorities? How do guest speakers represent diversity of thought and experience? How are you training managers to coach and promote underrepresented people?

Leadership problem: Too few underrepresented people at the top of the organization? Start a leadership training program actively managed by existing leadership and ensure underrepresented people participate. Promote graduates of that program. Find ways to bring underrepresented people into leadership meetings and events, even if they don't have an official title that grants them entry.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion isn't a program with an end -- it is part of the company DNA, and that tone starts at the top. Make DEI company values inviolate, with zero tolerance for those, particularly managers, who do not practice these values in the way they relate to other people.

There is no magic solution for making a company more diverse; it will take hard work and perseverance. 

About the Author(s)

Edge Editors

Dark Reading

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