Diversity without Inclusion?

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This is strictly my opinion and an observation that I feel compelled to share. I invite others to share their experiences as well. It simply amazes me that leaders of prominent organizations can dismiss the relevance of diversity and inclusion by dismissing a generation of sacrifice and struggle.

Less than four decades ago, people of color, women and other groups were fighting for civil rights and the right to equality. Affirmative Action was intended to provide access to those less fortunate or shut out. The business imperative was to make a way so that America was being true to its constitution.

So how did we get here…a president who overtly dismantles the progress that has been made because we have a country that is divided, not just by principle but by race, culture and identity. Then you add big businesses that have long had mandates for diversity but are tiring of those mandates because they require commitment and sacrifice for the long haul.

The reality is that diversity was never intended to exist without inclusion. The government has mandated equity and parity for women and people of color. While affirmative action was not an end all, it did drive progress.

Inclusion awareness and practices became possible with the evolution of affinity and employee resource groups. The primary purpose of these groups is to help companies foster awareness and cultural sensitivity in the workplace. Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are diverse, inclusive and are aligned with organizational values, business practices and objectives. They have become the cornerstone of most company cultures.

Companies that stay the course to build sustainable cultures and productive employees find ways not to allow diversity and inclusion work to become passive and cliché.

I invite you to share your experiences and comments on how employee resource groups add value to your workplace.