Following on from my recent post 'Why isn't there a white men's group?', I recently read a provocative article on this theme in the Harvard Business Review (Diversity Policies Rarely Make Companies Fairer, and They Feel Threatening to White Men).
The title of the article is a little misleading, because the study it refers to actually showed that some types of diversity actions do make companies fairer. However, I want to focus on the statement in the last paragraph:
"In order to foster fair, inclusive workplaces, diversity initiatives must incorporate accountability. They must be more than "colorful window dressing" that unintentionally angers a substantial portion of the workforce. Diversity policies must be researched, assessed for effectiveness, and implemented with care so that everyone in the workplace can feel valued and supported."
This is important. Diversity is a given in most organisations - it's what is done with that diversity that really matters. So our focus needs to be on building inclusive workplace cultures so that diversity (in its broadest sense - diversity of thoughts, perspectives and experiences) is leveraged for the benefit of everyone, including white men. It's about everyone feeling that they belong and that they have a voice. And to anyone who feels threatened by a D&I initiative, we need to remind them that inclusion is essentially a business strategy to sell more goods and services, innovate, access new markets and service client's needs and, without it, businesses cannot be competitive.