Workplace diversity has become a popular topic in the business community with the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement and the national dialogue about racial injustice. Companies and entire industries are taking a harder look at systematic barriers to professional advancement, as well as how internalized racism can play out in common business scenarios.
Earlier this month, RecDiv founder Daniel Griggs was featured in Forbes in an article on the misconceptions about workplace diversity. The article explained that many companies and industries have been launching initiatives to increase diversity, but that hiring policies are just the first step toward more inclusive workplaces. Many employers are consciously or unconsciously acting on misinformation about what workplace diversity actually means.
Here are the five common misconceptions about workplace diversity outlined in the Forbes article:
- Most companies are already pretty diverse. While there have been great strides made in increasing workplace diversity, many industries as a whole are still fairly homogeneous. For example, just 7% of the high-tech U.S. workforce is Black, and more than 80% of lawyers are white.
- Workplace diversity is just about race. Equitable racial representation is important, but workplace diversity is about more than skin color. In addition to hiring employees of different ages, genders, sexual orientations and disability status, employers also need to consider cultural and ethnic backgrounds as an important aspect of diversity.
- Hiring a diverse workforce is enough. A company that is diverse on paper may be reinforcing harmful or discriminatory practices through its company culture. Unconscious bias can manifest in many ways in the workplace, including staff conversation and body language, company policy, marketing efforts and customer service strategies.
- Investing in workplace diversity will cost you. This couldn’t be further from the truth. According to McKinsey & Company, workplaces with cultural and ethnic diversity are 33% more likely to outperform their less-diverse counterparts.
- Underrepresented people just aren’t applying for certain jobs. If your company is only receiving one type of applicant, it may be time to look at your recruiting strategies.
RecDiv’s mission is to increase workplace diversity and inclusivity by connecting employers with students and alumni from HBCU across the country. Our online job platform also provides career resources and professional tips.