The Flaws of Formal Diversity Programs
There has been a lot of talk over the past several years in the United States about diversity in the workplace and its impact on productivity and innovation within organizations. A recent Harvard Business Review article (December 2013) concluded that diversity in an organization “unlocks innovation and drives market growth”. In our nation’s capital, the issue of assuring diversity at work and program implementation is continually discussed and debated. Most major corporations over the past several years have implement “diversity programs” aimed at assuring a diverse and fair workplace which values (and equally compensates) people of varying racial, religious, social and economic backgrounds. One of the most global corporations in the world, The Coca Cola Company, states that their Global Diversity Mission is to “mirror the rich diversity of the marketplace we serve and be recognized for our leadership in Diversity, Inclusion and Fairness in all aspects of our business, including Workplace, Marketplace, Supplier and Community, enhancing the Company’s social license to operate. Diversity is at the heart of our business.” That is a mouthful.
However, recent studies have shown that having a stated diversity program and related training in no manner assures that the goals (and benefits) of assuring a diverse workplace are being met. The findings of a University of Washington study released in 2013 “suggest that diversity programs can be window dressing – even those that do very little to increase diversity may still be perceived as effective.” In other words, lots of companies implement fancy comprehensive policies and programs and then assume that they are meeting their goals.
At The Strong Firm we believe that hiring intelligent and innovative people with a variety of educational and life experiences increases the ability to relate to clients and help solve their diverse problems. It also makes for a more interesting and dynamic workplace. This has always been our philosophy. By default, this overriding goal has “organically” led to a very diverse work place at our firm that we believe solves client’s problems very efficiently. We are very proud of this. Not because some external force has told us we need to have a program to insure diversity, but rather because it helps us better serve our clients and the community in which we live and work. Come meet our wonderful team of professionals and let them help solve your unique legal problems.
Bret L. Strong
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