In recent years I started learning about minorities, attending events, and meeting people who have been advocating diversity. There were many times when representatives of companies shared successful stories how they embraced diversity & inclusion in workplaces, but when asked if this is a one-time thing that happened due to good luck, or they have policies supporting it, they freeze. Usually efforts end with anti-bias training and there are no solid checks and balances to not only to support inclusion but make those success stories recurrent practice.
During one event, CEO of a successful company said to the crowd: “We don’t need to police people with rules, because we welcome all, do not care about skin color, age, gender, ability or background”. His approach is a step to the right direction, but it’s not enough. If you don’t care about the whole person, don’t take time to recognize differences, you will never understand issues that marginalized groups are facing. With this thinking you will remain a part of the problem, not solution. Aspiration to be better, is just that – aspiration. Success can be achieved when it can be measured, and knowledge-based decisions are driving force for it.
This is where having policies in place, combined with culture, can make a real difference and change our work environment. Here is why:
Policy does not need to be a weapon which gives permission to police and punish people. They could be guidelines and conversation starters when needed, focus on strengths and give a helping hand for those who want it. Policy can be a promise and commitment that shape not only our work culture, but a healthy, compassionate society.