Why inclusion matters

Several years ago, I worked for a very diverse firm with employees from different parts of the world. This resembled the poster child of a diverse work environment but there was no inclusion. Employees never felt belonged and and management never cared because they were the least inclusive.

Nothing much has changed over the course of the last two decades. A McKinsey study “Diversity wins: How inclusion matters” states that while overall sentiment on diversity was 52 percent positive and 32 percent negative, sentiment on inclusion was lower with 61 percent negative and just 29 percent positive.

The study looked at data from 15 countries and more than 1,000 large companies and found that the business case for diversity remains strong but companies lag behind in inclusion.

Unless a culture shift happens, we will all be paying lip service to DEI and changing nothing.

DEI: A booming cottage industry

  1. Median DEI manager’s salary: $103,693 (Salary.com)
  2. VP & Chief Diversity Officer (Major public university): $315,000. (Plus sign on bonus, car allowance, and here is the kicker:  2 complimentary season tickets for football, men’s basketball and men’s hockey!) 
  3. Pre-2020 online DEI courses: Hardly a dozen courses existed on Coursera or LinkedIn. Today, hundreds of courses, certificate programs, and micro-credentials are available.
  4. Highly paid DEI consultants: Make between $4,000 and $20,000 per presentation.
  5. Elitist writers: Previously unknown writers with no clue of where and how marginalized communities live now have must read books!
  6. A spin off industry: Sub-specialists in inclusion, implicit bias, micro-aggression and other DEI topics are thriving, not to talk of DEI start ups in San Francisco!
  7. State and federal government mandates on DEI: Mean long-term opportunities for specialists, consultants and academics.
  8. Lived experience experts: Some have ditched corporate careers to start their own boutique operations highlighting their lived experiences.
Sell when you can: you are not for all markets
William Shakespeare (1564-1616). "As you like it."