A generational opportunity to make REAL changes to Diversity in the Workplace
From #BlackLivesMatter to #MeToo, we have recently witnessed social movements that served as a great wake-up call and a catalyst for real change for society as a whole. However, those movements alone cannot be enough. We need to not let them have short tenures. We must continue to push for change and demand accountability. We are faced with an unprecedented social reckoning to confront racism, sexism, and LGBTQ discrimination that are built within many of our public and private institutions.
Now, more than ever, we have a generational opportunity to make long-lasting, positive changes.
What does this mean for corporate America? Company leadership — predominantly comprised of white men — has to address the inequalities within their organizations and hold themselves accountable. And while for some high-profile companies, progress has been slow if not abysmal, “diversity” and “inclusion” need to be more than buzzwords used in their latest marketing campaign. Efforts to create a diverse workforce are a business imperative that needs to be followed by actionable effort. In a nutshell, those in leadership positions need to stop talking about diversity in the workplace and take action NOW.
Adding urgency for change is the COVID-19 pandemic, which further highlighted economic inequality for people of color and women. For instance, Pew Research Center found the following key findings on unemployment during Covid-19:
- More women (3.1%) than men (2.1%) quit the labor force in the first year of Covid-19
- Hispanic and Black women accounted for 46% of the total decrease in labor force participation among women
- More Black men (11.6%) were unemployed in February 2021, compared to 6% of White and Asian workers
I believe that forward-thinking companies truly believe that diversity is critical if they want to remain relevant and succeed. For example, according to McKinsey’s Diversity Matters, companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national medians. Bottom line, the best results come from diversity, which we are seeing here at BeyondHQ both from our customers and within our own organization. For instance, we are working with companies across many industries — from autonomous vehicles to social media platforms to online retail — that are increasingly seeking data on diversity, which has gone from “nice to have” to “a required must have.” In fact, having this data is a key driver for most of our prospects. Without doubt, we’re seeing the behavior match the rhetoric.
Within BeyondHQ, we strive to lead by example. We have hired and grown our team based on the idea of purposeful diversity. Case in point, I am our organization’s only white male. We also have a distributed team that spans across the country and globally. We structured ourselves this way on purpose, because we did not want to build another company based on the “sameness” of mostly all-white men. So, we set out to create a corporate culture that seeks out different points of view. To do that, we built a team of colleagues who come from different ethnicities, races, and sexual orientation. We have hired not just for the sake of diversity, but also, for diversity of ideology, culture, theory, experience, and viewpoints. Diversity has been the catalyst for us to think and create with greater success because the lens through which we look to make decisions is vastly wider, deeper, and more profound.