Read any newspaper, management journal, or scan your social media news feed, and chances are it won’t take you long to come across another story about diversity.  It seems like every organisation is on a ‘diversity journey’ of some sort.

The push for diversity in Australian workplaces came to the forefront in the 1980s, initially under the banner of Affirmative Action and Equal Employment Opportunity.  Originally focussed on gender, the scope of diversity related issues has exploded in recent years and now encompasses age, disability/ accessibility, ethnicity, indigenous, sexual orientation, religious beliefs and numerous other lifestyle choices.

A mountain of articles and studies have been written about the benefits of diversity in the workplace and the importance of building a diverse and inclusive work environment.  But how has this ‘push’ really impacted organisations, and are diversity efforts gaining the traction required to effect sustainable change in how we do business in the future.

Recent authors have highlighted a number of common traps that can derail an organisation’s journey to a more diverse and inclusive workplace:-

  • Diversity window dressing – a new policy rollout, glossy brochures or employee awareness training without any supporting changes being made to work processes or structure, or metrics to drive organisational accountability.
  • The diversity glass ceiling – a bottom heavy approach to diversity efforts with no impact on leadership and managerial levels.
  • Diversity without inclusion – hiring employees with varied perspectives and backgrounds to meet diversity quotas, but not empowering them to openly share their knowledge and experiences.

All of these approaches have limited impact on changing workplace culture, and in the end can actually be detrimental to diversity efforts as employees become disenfranchised by this phenomenon of empty promises.

Don’t fall into a diversity trap!  Diversity for diversity’s sake is not enough to affect long term sustainable change.

At Inclusive People Solutions, we understand the complex issues that surround diversity and inclusion in the workplace.  We are passionate about supporting organisations to attract and support a diverse range of employees, and to leverage of the innumerous benefits they can bring. Reach out today and let us partner with you on your diversity and inclusion journey. #includeandthrive