Teaching Diversity is a challenge. At present two paradigms coexist in apparent harmony, but are really just a mirage. Diversity has become in fashion and nobody can afford not to include it among their values. Like innovation, it is a “commodity” a “me too” that everybody “treasures” in their strategy.
But how is diversity included in your strategy? Herring and Henderson talk about three different approaches.
On one hand, Blind Diversity Approach, is limited to celebrate difference. We can recognize this focus when we read annual reports of many multinationals that proudly share higher rates of feminine participation in their workforce. A thorough aggregation of the different charts reveals that in the end only a few heterosexual or closeted white men are those who lead and get the big bucks. But they are fully satisfied because they hire lots of women!
The Snowflake Diversity Approach defends that we are genuinely unique and to talk about diversity dimensions, like gender, or race, is to menace individuals. If Barack Obama has been able to reach the US Presidency Why have we to keep talking about black minority?
Finally, there is a third way to cope with it: Critical Diversity that assumes there is inequality and it is required to solve it. Those who prefer the two first focuses reject this one stating that it is advocacy.
NGOs do advocacy. Corporations do Diversity Management. They may seem synonyms, but they are not.
I celebrate Zoraida and Priya initiative, they want to talk about diversity management and they are hands on! They contacted Celia de Anca and in a blink of an eye they have created the Diversity Club.
The other day we had the kickoff event and of course we had IBM. Ana Gª Oliveros (Director of Marketing and Communication) and Belen Perales (Director of CSR). Only 25 sits to be able to talk freely and a long waiting list.
Every time they come they bring something new! Just a few bullets for those who could not attend:
• At present, constant change is one of the main issues in business, the pressure of corporations towards family, volatility of results and social challenges.
• Social Responsibility has evolved from “Legal Compliance”, “Strategic Philanthropy”, “Value based self-regulation” and “Efficiency” to “Growth Platform”. IBM is one of those companies that really believe in the “case” of diversity. Diversity pays back!
• In this new landscape they do not talk about competitors any more, but collaborators.
• When I started hearing them talk about diversity they mentioned five dimensions they focus on: Women, LGBT, People with Disabilities, Work/Life, Cross-Generation, Cross-cultural, Men, New-hires, Veteran and Multicultural Women.
• They still underline that Work/Life is not only a women issue.
• Among the findings they shared with regards to “Men” dimension is the more mature and self-confident, the more understanding about the issue, that at last is a social issue.