For the last few years, news from the tech sector has been dominated by two types of stories: those highlighting the industry’s woeful lack of diversity and bold announcements by some companies to launch aggressive diversity efforts. But as the initial fanfare of multimillion dollar investments to accelerate their recruiting efforts fades, the question remains—are their efforts paying off? Unfortunately, the answer is not to the extent that they had hoped. People are leaving almost as fast as they are joining. These tech companies have the right intent, but getting sustainable results is another matter.
Intel was one of the first tech giants to step up with a bold commitment; however, they are finding that whatever gains they made have fallen short (Fast Company, 2016—http://www.fastcompany.com/3056245/...). While they describe holding everyone of their 107,000 employees accountable for achieving their diversity goals through a company-wide bonus program that has increased employee referrals, and have in fact done well in terms of broadening their recruitment efforts--efforts that are reflected in clearly improved hiring numbers, the revolving door for people who are different remains as active as ever. It is tempting to see these lackluster results and ask “why?” but the real question should be “Why are we surprised?”
Many organizations in the tech (and other industries) have invested considerable time, money and resources in revamping their recruiting processes (including instituting best practices such as blind recruiting, recruiting at a broader range of schools, and training hiring managers and teams to be aware of unconscious bias). These efforts to get people in the door are critical and need to be maintained and even escalated in some places, but they are only one part of the task. These organizations have not yet learned the often painful lesson that recruiting is only the first step toward having a more diverse organization. The secret sauce is inclusion. Many organizations assume their culture is fine and just getting people in the door is sufficient. Unfortunately, almost anyone who has ever joined an organization and had to navigate—with varying degrees of success—the unwritten rules and unspoken but powerful norms knows this is not a recipe for success. Too often, individuals of diverse backgrounds get hired only to find themselves in an organizational culture that feels like a club where systems and ways of interacting are unwelcoming and exclude people who are not a part of that club.
So what does changing the culture entail? It means creating an environment in which people feel welcomed and that they belong. It means that people feel seen, valued and respected for their differences and they experience a level of supportive energy from their team members, peers and leaders. Creating a culture where people want to stay requires more than diversity training or building awareness of the unconscious biases that block effective, inclusive interactions. Instead, it is about instilling, expecting and rewarding the day-to-day conscious actions for inclusion that allow people to do their best work using the talents, skills and abilities they were hired for in the first place. It means providing support for people who are different than the traditional group not only through networks and resource groups, but, more importantly, in their team environment so that the team members feel accountable and have the skills to leverage each person’s talents and abilities and understand the role that differences play as a part of their success. An inclusive organization recognizes that everyone needs to change. And it means expecting a new set of competencies and ways of working so that everyone succeeds.
Changing the culture means leveraging diversity AND living inclusion. Creating an inclusive organization must become a new way of life in organizations that are serious about becoming more diverse. Inclusion must become part of the organization’s DNA, the new HOW for how people interact, how decisions are made, how work gets done, but also who is at the table and whose voices are listened to. It is about BOLD moves…transformational change for most organizations.
It’s great that the tech industry is beginning to realize that it needs greater diversity for its continued success. Now it’s time to stop the revolving door and expand the focus beyond the door and into the hallways, meeting rooms, and shop floors where the culture lives and breathes. The tech industry has taken some solid first steps. The question is, will they step up yet again to ensure their efforts pay off? Organizations like Slack are leading the way, showing that it’s possible to recruit AND retain a diverse workforce. They are changing the way people interact. Creating a work environment in which all people feel that sense of belonging and can do their best work because the organizational culture works for them, supports them and fully includes them. It’s time for others to join with efforts that will make a sustainable difference in their organizations. The secret sauce is not so secret – but it does mean leadership must see the need for change. And that change is an inclusive culture.
OD, Inclusion, and Diversity: Yesterday, Today, and Looking Around the Corner
Fred Miller and Judith Katz gave a well-attended presentation at this year’s conference on OD, Inclusion, and Diversity: Yesterday, Today, and Looking Around the Corner. The presentation centered on how we talk about differences in the workplace and in society has changed fundamentally in the last 25 years. We’ve seen shifts from a compliance focus of affirmative action to recognizing and articulating the business case for diversity in the workplace to focusing on not just representation, but the inclusion of people of all differences. Yet, stories related to diversity and differences are as alive as ever, from Ferguson (and beyond) to Gamergate to the battle for marriage equality. How do we as practitioners address differences and where does diversity fit in moving the field of OD forward? This presentation explored the evolution of diversity and inclusion, the challenges organizations face today, and how emerging trends such as Dialogic OD are shaping our approach to making an impact in how we change organizations.
The Kaleel Jamison Consulting Group, Inc. has been selected as the recipient of the 2016 Van Rensselaer Small Business Award. The Chamber established the Van Rensselaer Small Business Award to honor businesses that demonstrate exceptional corporate citizenship through active involvement and generous contribution to the economy while improving the quality of life in the Rensselaer Gateway communities. The Chamber stated that is is proud to highlight KJCG’s efforts with this award as the community initiatives of The Kaleel Jamison Consulting Group clearly exemplify these characteristics. Previous Van Rensselaer Small Business Award recipients include Bouchey & Clarke Benefits Inc./Bouchey Financial Group, Ltd.; Tri-City ValleyCats; MicroKnowledge, Inc.; architecture +; The Alcher Printing Group; The Old Daley Inn Catering Company; and Spiral Design Studio, LLC.
The Chamber will honor KJCG at the annual Van Rensselaer Awards Dinner scheduled for Thursday, September 15, 2016 in Troy, NY.
The Downtown Troy Business Improvement District’s Fourth Annual Fundraising Dinner and Sammy Awards was at Franklin Plaza in Troy on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015. The BID honored individuals and businesses that have helped make Downtown Troy a thriving place to live, work and explore.
Fred Miller and The Kaleel Jamison Consulting Group, Inc. were honored with The “Troy Vision” Award. This award is given to a person or organization that has implemented a proven dedication to tackling community or societal issues in Troy in an effort to improve quality of life in the city.
The Downtown Troy BID’s mission is to cultivate and advocate the economic growth of Downtown Troy and to further enhance and make our community a vibrant, attractive destination for visitors, businesses, residents, property owners, daily workforce and students.
On December 3rd, Joseph’s House Shelter honored Fred Miller with the Founders Award for his long time work in Troy. Joseph’s House & Shelter offers emergency shelter, permanent housing; support services; hospitality and guidance to homeless individuals, youth and families.
On Wednesday, 7 October 2015, a three hour community conversation was hosted by KJCG, along with community partners, about creating A More Welcoming, Inclusive and Safer Troy at Bush Memorial Hall on The Russell Sage College campus in Troy, New York. This conversation, with 230 engaged people, focused on ways that citizens, community members, students, police, city government, businesses, and civic and religious leaders can work together, honor our diversity, and make Troy a more welcoming, inclusive, and safer city. The event sparked a conversation that helped to shape a community that values all and conveys belonging, appreciation and neighborly goodwill; a community that celebrates connection and cooperation with care and respect—without exceptions. The event had a very diverse turnout, with people of all social economic groups, ages, races, and employment conditions. Participants each filled out individual Call-to-Actions and Big Ideas, ideas that are beyond the scope of an individual. This is one piece of a larger movement to make Troy, New York, a more welcoming, inclusive and safer place.