Knowing that diversity is a source of performance, many companies try to attract more personnel with varied profiles. Yet, they also need to be able to really take advantage of this diversity. How can you integrate these staff without erasing their differences?
Why promote greater diversity in the company? The question seems largely settled nowadays. Beyond the ethical or regulatory aspects, the economic interest of the approach is proven. Two studies, by McKinsey and BCG, have again recently demonstrated the advantages diversified companies enjoy, be it in terms of gender, cultural or social origin, etc. Indeed, they outperform their peers, notably through their innovation capacities, their sensitivity to customer needs, the attractiveness of their employer brand. Many business leaders are now convinced that diversity is a factor of resilience and performance in a mutating world.
How to go about it remains a more delicate issue. Many companies have launched highly voluntarist diversity programs. They nominated equality and diversity managers at the highest level, set themselves ambitious quantitative objectives, reviewed a certain number of their processes, etc. A necessary in-depth work, indeed, but unfortunately insufficient. Most companies make the same observation: attracting is not enough, you also need to integrate—and, if possible, without erasing the differences. Yet, several surveys confirm that staff members from minorities do not always feel authorized to express their differences; they also consider their points of view are less heard. Victimization—or, on the contrary, persistence of discriminatory behaviors, despite the stated good intentions? Neither one nor the other. In reality, obstacles to integration are made of a sum of small differences in treatment, day after day. These are often linked to deeply integrated stereotypes by both the staff members from the majority categories and those from the under-represented categories. Accrued over an entire career, these differences impede the capacity of the “diversity” employees to contribute fully, weigh on their feeling of inclusion and engagement—and end up reducing their career opportunities, in a manner visible in statistics. The company loses as much as the individuals, as it partially deprives itself of the wealth that its minorities could contribute.
Fortunately, this is not fatal. Everyone can further diversity, by working on the awareness and correction of these insidious biases.
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Dare talk about prejudices
To manage diversity effectively, it is necessary to dispel the taboo that often surrounds prejudices. How can we identify them and counter their harmful effects?
Fostering a more inclusive culture
Diversity, equity and inclusion are invaluable and complementary assets for companies. But converting good intentions into concrete action is far from easy. How can we move forward while avoiding missteps?
Let Them See YouPorter Braswell
Work on corporate culture to enable an effective integration of minorities.
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Diversity Is Just the First Step. Inclusion Comes Next.Frances Brooks Taplett, Matt Krentz, Justin Dean, Gabrielle Novacek
In this study, BCG addresses the continuing difficulties in integrating staff members from minorities.
Delivering through DiversityVivian Hunt, Sara Prince, Sundiatu Dixon-Fyle, Lareina Yee
A complete report on the state of diversity in companies, its challenges and its obstacles.
Making Jokes During a Presentation Helps Men But Hurts WomenJonathan Evans, Jerel Slaughter, Aleksander Ellis, Jessi Rivin
An example of unconscious bias: this study shows how traits of humor are perceived differently depending on whether they are voiced by a woman or a man.