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Editorial Team
06 Mar 2018

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West’s Diversity Issues and Xenophobia: The Problems and Panacea

Diversity is rising inequality’s child. Challenge it by pitting talent against tokenism.

When diversity is taken as a personal affront, it pulls the complete organizational structure down with such a gravitational force that repercussions and its echo can be heard decades down the line. Echo is good. Because when a number of people are impressed upon by it, they know it’s time to change. 

How the world perceives diversity (And the defect in the default setting)  

The blog (Reflecting on one very, very strange year at Uber on www.susanjfowler.com) that left Uber clambering for a space in a dark corner and interestingly inverse to its stance to stay under the spotlight by Susan J. Fowler drummed its beat to a climactic end for Travis Kalanick. Engineer James Damore had a fallout with google ascribing gender inequalities at the workplace to biological differences in the memo ‘Google’s ideological echo chamber.’ Then, the most recent Harvey Weinstein scandal that rocked Hollywood sank the reputation of the mogul. Suddenly, the zenith culminated into nadir.    

It’s strange but inherently true in real life too about how a story works. You take a protagonist, you take an antagonist, and you fix them along a storyline with the good winning over evil. It works with the world going gaga over how the world is more equal. 

It sounds like a child’s play. But alas, it can be anything but that. Is it really a solution, removing any person who was just a cog in the wheel going about the daily grinding job responsibility and thinking he/she was doing the best for the incumbency? One allegation here, one resignation there. 

Damore said he was surprised on being fired since he was helping the giant to fix a problem. Promoting individuals for the sake of good diversity and inclusion survey reports is not a solution. And it’s not clandestine that Google does bring out its annual diversity report with improved numbers each year. It might be easily called forced diversity or tokenism that will isolate majority. The whole point of eliminating differences is doomed. We will be battling a war already lost.  

The op-ed correspondents are doing a great job but this putrescence isn’t a problem of the casualty who got caught. There are many like him/her in the system who have learned through an operant conditioning to be politically correct. But the predilection- the very basic nature of human psychology remains ethnocentric. 

Non-homogeneity is good: The Real Raison d’etre 

The global understanding of the term diversity and inclusion (D&I) has seen a transformational shift. The essence remains the same, of course! The representation of identity-groups based on ethnicity, gender, religion, disability, and thinking style is diversity.  

Taking it as a radius and spanning the perimeter of the organizational system left efficiency inhibited somewhere. Bewilderingly wrong, some organizations can be in considering D&I as CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility).      

The new paradigm is leveraging the world of knowledge the diverse groups bring with them to innovate on products and services solutions. 

Mckinsey’s Report called Diversity Matters states the companies ranking in the top quartile on diversity standards are bound for better business up to 35% than those present in the bottom quartile. 

Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends say 48% companies have the arsenal to meet cultural diversity demands with 78% of companies believing the inclusion of diversity to be a competitive advantage.   

From P&G spending $2 billion annually to build an overarching and overhauled framework for a business case for diversity to Uber hiring deaf drivers to Schneider Electric celebrating LGBT community- the juggernaut of diversity has certainly moved in the belief that far right extreme of the diversity continuum would perceptibly be different from where we started.           

Step Ahead- Sequestration of Issues 

Real talent. That must be the yardstick of any elevation- hiring, appraisal or promotion. A person who deserves the pedestal position is revered if he/she has achieved it on pure merit and not as a birthright.  

Leadership development for succession planning in a true sense with intensive internal training and external exposure to senior level executives will add muscle to diversity as a body. Employ acute and real measurement of diversity and inclusion programs and hold managers accountable for promoting the issue just like major companies the likes of which are Nissan, Merck, and General Mills are doing.  

Talent acquisition must start free from the manifestation of inequalities ingrained in behavioral psychology. Location agnosticism and flexible timings will work wonders for women employees who want to feed their babies and evolve on work front too. Women like Larissa Waters are making history by breastfeeding while addressing the Australian parliament.  

When you put one diverse person on the pinnacle, diversity itself spreads inside the organization. Since they know what it takes to reach the top and from where they have come from, they matter genuine talent and promote and retain employees from diverse backgrounds. 

WHY? That’s the question to ask before setting out to fulfill statistical configuration dependent on surrogate of ‘how much?’ Diversity isn’t a choice. It’s the status quo.

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