Remember back when you were in preschool or kindergarten and you did a task correctly? You probably got awarded a gold star. If you got enough gold stars through the week or month you more than likely got some kind of reward or treat. As you advanced in the educational system that way of functioning gradually went away and was replaced by a more complex system of learning and reinforcing behaviors that lead to success. The system moved from being simplistic to more complex.
Despite research to the contrary some diversity organizations and professionals still approach the work of diversity and inclusion in today’s society the same way. We offer cookie cutter, check box driven approaches to address the diversity efforts of organizations being served. Addressing diversity and inclusion and equity issues is simple in this approach. Complete a task, check the box, gold star for you. Complete another task check another box. Repeat until all the boxes are checked and then you get a reward the ultimate gold star, certification. Everyone goes through the same process and checks the same boxes and voila diversity issues solved! Success and you are done.
There are two problems with this cookie cutter approach. One it doesn’t work. All current research has shown that this approach has not been effective in addressing issues of diversity and inclusion.
Even as corporate America applauds its diversity efforts, hails the triumph of a true meritocracy in the workplace, and parades its principles of fairness, decades of research documenting thousands of workplace experiences of people of color, women, and gays and lesbians paint a nettlesome, contradictory picture.
Giving Notice: Why the Best and Brightest are Leaving the Workplace and How You Can Help them Stay by Freada Kapor Klein
And the solutions offered by the majority of diversity gurus are mostly superficial, cookie-cutter programs that don’t address the root issue: unearthing and removing hidden bias in organizational structures.