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The Mistake Companies Make When They Use Data to Plan Diversity Efforts – Harvard Business Review

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Pooling “people of color” or “women” to have more data discounts within-group differences and hinders meaningful change. Research shows that “one size first all” diversity approaches often only benefit a subset of employees. And efforts directed at women broadly tend to advance white women at the expense of women of color.

by Katie Wullert, Shannon Gilmartin, and Caroline Simard, Harvard Business Review, April 16, 2019

I think diversity officers need to be honest about how they use data to advance targeted under-represented groups. One of the challenges that women of color face is that their strengths, while valued in other people, are seen as negative when exhibited by Black or Asian women. In what ways are women and people of color, and the mix of these identities, welcomed, retained and promoted – and paid – within your own organizations?

Organizations can help managers act as allies by creating an environment where crucial and often difficult conversations can take place. This starts with educating managers about intersectionality. Employees do not experience organizations based on their race or gender separately; they live their lives at the intersection of these characteristics.

by Katie Wullert, Shannon Gilmartin, and Caroline Simard, Harvard Business Review, April 16, 2019

I’ve written about this topic, when senior leaders have targeted my identities – wanting me to show one of them more than others. The stress I felt trying to represent my multiple and often competing identities made it clear that I was not valued as an entire person. I don’t live my life with these identities separate – I am and should be valued for how I live my values as informed by all of these identities. And a good manager helps create that environment.

Read more at The Mistake Companies Make When They Use Data to Plan Diversity Efforts by Katie Wullert, Shannon Gilmartin, and Caroline Simard, Harvard Business Review, April 16, 2019. Part of WiFi (What I Find Interesting) Wednesday.

Read more intersectionality, why it’s needed, how we need to target our diversity efforts more broadly, and how one-size-fits-all diversity efforts don’t benefit everyone.


Check out the following books available on Amazon:

The Chief Diversity Officer: Strategy Structure, and Change Management by Damon A. Williams, Mark A. Emmert, and Katrina C. Wade-Golden

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