Struggles to Build and Sustain Workplace Diversity

Struggles to Build and Sustain Workplace Diversity


When it comes to workplace diversity, many organizations have found success in building and leveraging some types of diversity, such as functional diversity, but have had a tough time building, sustaining, and leveraging social and cultural diversity, such as racial, ethnic, and gender diversity, despite sincere commitments by many organizations.



One challenge is that the historical remnants of societal discrimination continue to emerge in patterns of discrimination in institutions throughout society, impacting those of different races, ethnicities, genders, abilities, sexual orientations, ages, and religions (among other differences). These societal realities impact organizations, including those strongly committed to workplace diversity.

One way organizations experience these realities is through unconscious bias, which can hinder an organization's ability to build and sustain a culturally diverse talent base and create the type of inclusive environment that paves the way for learning and benefiting from diversity. And we see this reflected in the data on workplace diversity, showing that women and minorities remain underrepresented in the senior leadership ranks at many companies and across the workforces in many industries.

While research shows that diversity awareness trainings have not proven very effective at reducing unconscious bias or increasing workplace diversity, one area of great hope in effectively addressing unconscious bias is intergroup contact theory.

See related Diversity Remix Blog posts for data on workplace diversity and more on unconscious bias:

Racial and Ethnic Diversity: Slow Progress

Gender Diversity: Slow Progress

Diversity in Silicon Valley: Slow Progress

Increase Interaction. Reduce Unconscious Bias.

Unconscious Bias, in a Nutshell

Unconscious Bias in Action