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4 Reasons Why Diversity Programs Fail

$8 billion annually are invested on diversity and inclusive efforts in the United States. (McKinsey,2017) When it comes to Ireland, diversity and inclusion investments raised by 15.3% in 2019 comparing to the previous year (EY,2019) The majority of these spendings on these efforts were on events 63.8%, trainings 63.8% and employee network groups 52.2%.

Despite many resources invested on diversity and inclusion globally, there are still only very small changes in the numbers. Women are only 7% of top executives in the Fortune 100 companies. Women of color are only 4.7% of executive- or senior-level officials and managers in S&P 500 companies (American progress, 2018) The visibility of disabilities and LGBT in the leadership is also very low globally.

Here are the main reasons why diversity programs fail despite all these big resources.

1- Missing Vision

In early stages of diversity and inclusion initiatives, organisations are often lost. They miss the first critical step which is gaining a vision. They cannot see the bigger picture without defining their vision and the organisation's culture values. As a result, diversity ad inclusion goals are not treated as a business case and missed from leader's agenda.

2- Lack of Measurement

When there is no data on where to start and what needs to be done in terms of diversity and inclusion, managers take their own approach to it and leave no guidance for the next managers. Without measurement, there is no information on what is the problem, what is the goal, if the goals's achieved, how is the progress. The result is a big unknown again.

3- Lack of Genuine Interest

In some organisations, you always see that the same people attending to diversity and inclusion activities and talk about it. The rest of the organisation is not interested in taking part in these activities. As a result, talks don't turn into actions as the organisation's genuine interest is missing.

4- Missing Leadership Team Commitment

According to Inclusion Index research, successful companies are the ones that show real commitment to diversity and inclusion. In other research about leadership commitment, the attendees said they feel their leaders are simply paying lip service to diversity and inclusion but are not personally invested in advancing it.

Human resources departments spend a significant amount of resources on attracting the right talent from diverse backgrounds. On the other hand, the data in the below diagram shows that productivity of diverse teams is much lower when they are not managed by inclusive leaders.

In addition to this, big majority of the annual resources for diversity and inclusion efforts are impacted by big time as a response to the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020. 27% companies put all their diversity and inclusion activities on hold. (Institute for Corporate Productivity,2020)

Inclusive Intelligence as an inclusive work culture solution

Inclusive Intelligence is a new way to practise inclusive leadership that helps leaders build workplaces that diversity and inclusion thoughts turn in to practical goals and actions.

Inclusive Intelligence means internalizing inclusion, opening up consciously and leading with authenticity in the workplace.

According to Diversein's experiences with dozens of leaders globally , inclusive intelligence can be best achieved by demonstrating these 6 skills in the workplace: Self awareness, empathy, engagement, cultural wisdom, accountability and commitment. Leaders who practice inclusive intelligence are called inclusive leaders.

Furkan Karayel, an inclusive leadership advisor; women in tech and female founders ambassador. Founded after 10 years of software engineering experience. Diversity and Inclusion lead at Startup Week Dublin. Advisory board member at InspiringSTEM and Sprinters, global organisations to support diverse female entrepreneurs and young generation STEM. Honoured with "Diversity and Inclusion Role Model in Business" and "Trailblazer" Awards.

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