4 Considerations for Understanding Diversity and Inclusion Results

understanding diversity and inclusionMore and more companies are beginning to focus time and energy on diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. And these efforts have been shown to have real business impacts.

In order to maximize DE&I efforts, organizations should pair them with the efforts already in place to enhance employee engagement and performance management.


Free download: Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace: What It Is, Why It Matters, and How to Make It a Priority


But beyond traditional engagement survey follow-up, executive teams must zero-in on opportunities across age, gender, race, and ethnicity. Conversations around these topics can get uncomfortable at times, but having honest and ongoing discussions is key to creating an inclusive workplace culture.

As you begin to explore opportunities related to diversity, equity, and inclusion—and seek to understand what may cause differences between people within your organization—you may run into challenges of bias or misinterpretation.

In this blog, we’ll share a few common misconceptions when understanding diversity and inclusion results—and actions to consider instead.


1. If a problem is not immediately visible then it must not be an issue.


Why that reaction misses the mark: Approaching the results through your lived experience prevents you from seeing how others might perceive it. If you are an executive or someone of privilege things might seem okay to you, but that doesn’t mean others share the same experience.


What to do instead: Look internally and assess your own privilege to better understand how your experience might not be the same as others. Ensure you hear from multiple voices in your organization that can help challenge your current perspective and shape future perspectives.


2. This is not solvable and every company is dealing with it.


Why that reaction misses the mark: It is a defeatist attitude and promotes the notion that you can’t move forward on addressing racism or prejudice in the workplace unless some expert figures it out first. The burden is now placed elsewhere and is suddenly not on your plate.


What to do instead: Tap into the expert resources that exist in your community and industry that work directly in the DE&I field. When you feel stuck on a solution but are committed to making positive change, utilizing expert resources can help you overcome the feeling of immobility.


3. Diversity of thought is good enough.


Why that reaction misses the mark: While it is important to get a broad array of thoughts and perspectives in the room diversity of thought is often used as an excuse when the room is dominated by one race or gender in particular. Blaming a lack of diversity based on your perceptions of historical industry trends or geographic settings is not an acceptable excuse.

We are in a world now where remote work will continue to be more and more acceptable thus freeing up many organizations to tap into talent beyond their immediate geographic setting.


What to do instead: Different perspectives and backgrounds add value but can perpetuate the problem if those individuals still look alike. Here are two ways to create more diverse and inclusive discussions.

  1. Examine and define what diversity of thought means for your organization.
    If it just means we have good debate and conflict, welcome to the business world, that should be the norm for all businesses. Having good debate and conflict on a team is not synonymous with diversity, equity, and inclusion.

  2. When it comes to industry and geographic trends, do your research.
    There are organizations and groups who promote the inclusion of minority men and women in their respective field. Take this list—promoting Black developers and founders in the tech world—as an example. Don’t rely on traditional job boards and word-of-mouth to generate potential candidates. Put more effort into broadening your talent pipeline.


4. It’s not a gender or race issue, it has more to do with the type of work.


Why that reaction misses the mark: In these cases, executives and leaders try to make the argument that one group or job role is more or less engaged simply because of the job they hold. For example, hourly employees enjoy greater work-life-balance than salaried employees simply because they can clock out and leave their work behind at the workplace.

While this assumption may hold true in some cases, the danger here is that it effectively ends the investigative work necessary to understand where issues might lie.


What to do instead: Talk through the assumptions you have about your D&I data, but then take it a step further. If your data indicates that hourly folks do enjoy better work-life balance, challenge your organization to understand why. Ask these questions to dive deeper:

  • Are there differences among hourly and salaried folks when slicing the data by gender or race?
  • Among both groups, are there comments or trends that would indicate what would make their experience better?

If we simply accept the assumptions about the data, it takes the burden off our shoulders to do the necessary investigative work.



The more intentional we are towards our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, the better off our organizations will be. To learn more about how you can improve your DE&I efforts, download our ebook below.

diversity and inclusion in the workplace ebook

Published October 20, 2020 | Written By Aaron Brown