July 26, 2022

Diversity and Access

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Very often I hear from very well intended leaders, the comment below:

“I just want the right person for the job. I don’t care if they are white, black, male, female, etc”

While I know what they mean. I decided to write a blog about it because diversity or lack of diversity in a company has many reasons…. and one of them is Access. Access to the right education, to exceptional mentors, to the right room where critical conversations are happening, to a dinner table where parents are transferring knowledge. Access to decision makers, to game changers, to an engaged and caring community, to social events with power of influence. An individual with Access can easily become the ‘right’ candidate for a job. It just happens to be a fact, that another individual, who didn’t have access to those schools, internships, dinners, mentors, and coaches, could be just as capable. Lack of access prevents some individuals from developing and achieving goals at the same speed as others. What can an employer do about this?

  • Employers can design internal programs to provide employees access to mentors and coaches. Not only they are developing their internal workforce by doing this, but they are also promoting meaningful connections among employees and preparing for future upward mobility.
  • Employers can also look at different talent pools. Maybe ask for referrals in places where you usually don’t ask.
  • Offer internships to facilitate leadership development to individuals at the beginning of their career
  • Develop inclusive promotion practices with strategic bias mitigation built in, to fairly evaluate the candidate pool

Employers can’t change what an individual’s childhood or early years were like, but as an employer you can support and amplify what the future will look like. Caring for your workforce and promoting actions that support equity are meaningful and impactful ways to provide employees with a positive culture.