Study: Diversity, Inclusion are Part of Some Office Policies, Just Not Set in Motion

When it comes to jobs and businesses, the COVID-19 lockdown is reportedly impacting women and ethnic minorities more than anyone else. It doesn’t help that minorities are also victims of discrimination. In April, Techcrunch reported that unemployment was up by 15.5% among women, 2.5% higher than for men.

The rate was also higher among African Americans and Latinos than for white people, with Latinos reaching a record 18.9% unemployment. This should not have happened if companies’ diversity and inclusion policies were already set in motion.

It added that women, especially from more disadvantaged backgrounds, are going to be taking the lion’s share of caregiving responsibilities at home during the pandemic, making them more vulnerable to job cuts. 

Underrepresented employees in general may feel more marginalized than ever as job security is put on the line.

More recent immigrants are not new to discrimination or unequal treatment as well. It’s the fuel that makes them hungry to succeed even more, knowing that the cards are stacked up against them. An immigrant’s success story almost always supercharges communities that trickles down to other communities all around the country.  

If no one has not figured it out, America’s diversity and inclusion for generations and in various guises is what makes the country compete on a global scale. It’s the same concept as superheroes banding together for a common cause. It’s uniting the world’s talents in one place: America, to the detriment of their home countries, unfortunately. Imagine the concentration of talents in one place.

Messages don’t get through

But current standards are not enough, they’re even eroded or ignored by certain corporate practices. Messages don’t exactly get through, an analysis of Accenture in its Getting to Equal 2020 study revealed. It said there was a marked difference between what leaders and employees think: Two thirds of leaders (68 percent) feel they create empowering environments—in which employees can be themselves, raise concerns and innovate without fear of failure— but just one third (36 percent) of employees agree. 

Over the past decade, the study showed a 30-fold increase in the volume of references to culture and yet just one in 10 companies mentioned culture publicly in 2019. In fact, there was reportedly no change in leaders’ efforts to create a culture of equality. 

Culture fit can be abused

Employers will need to realize that diversity is not an accessory or PR stunt and that companies will need to review their office policies, including the so-called culture fit system used by companies in hiring talents. 

Culture fit has been a term used by many companies to only hire like-minded people. Minorities are well aware of its meaning and its potential for abuse. It can mean exclusion of people who come from a different cultural and ethnic background. 

Companies, with the help of global mobility professionals, will need to weed out any systems that promote culture fit or bring repercussions to people who voice their concerns about it.

A business needs to be a welcoming place for underrepresented employees who are often wary of their circumstances than their co-workers. It will help them grow and want to stay in the company. Today’s assignees will aspire to work for socially conscious companies. 

COVID-19 will force companies to see its business from different angles and the need for companies to be accessible in matters of diversity and inclusion.   

Career development is vital for underrepresented employees, for whom upward mobility is always harder. People from minority backgrounds tend to have less robust business networks, exactly because they are the minority in the business world. 

Global mobility program

One option to solve this is via sponsorship programs in which you or other senior leaders advocate on behalf of selected employees (as well as acting as their mentors). Think of it as equally distributing the networks and influence accumulated by business leaders among a more diverse pool of people.

In general, it boils down to leaders who build a more inclusive culture in an organization; recognize the importance of culture and identify change as a personal goal, and reward their people for doing so.