You have heard me talk about Diversity as an intellectual cancer. As the way it is practiced and implemented, it requires double-speak, euphemisms, and living in an alternative universe where people are described like pure breeds at a dog show. Where skill does not matter. Racial self-identification fraud does not matter. Multi-racial Americans do not matter. Social demographics (such as different high school and college graduation rates per ethnic/racial groups) do not matter.
No, all that matters are the metrics. Feed the PPT. Feed the division. Feed the sectarianism. Feed the hate. Most of all though - feed the Diversity Industry - their paycheck depends on halting the evolution towards a color blind society.
Sent: Thursday, March 11, [REDACTED]
Subject: RE: Minutes from [REDACTED]
I attended the DiversityInc event yesterday where VADM Ferguson was the keynote speaker. Event was attended by ~200 ppl (my estimate) including 14 uniformed personnel (11 USN, 2 USA, 1USAF). I believe most of the USN attendees were all out of CAPT Barrett's N134 Diversity Directorate. CAPT Barrett followed VADM Ferguson on the speaker agenda and provided the next level of detail to USN's highly proactive diversity vision. The founder and CEO of DiversityInc, Luke Visconti, is a former naval aviator (helo's) and is very involved in the Navy's diversity efforts, hence the Navy's reciprocal involvement in their event.
DiversityInc annually rates the top 50 diverse companies based on voluntarily supplied data. This year they had 489 companies participate (side note: none of "our" contractors, [REDACTED], appeared in the top 50). They are also trying to increase interest in the top 50 diverse federal agencies. Last year they had 39 agencies participate and the top agencies were:
1) IRS (guess the only color they discriminate against is green)
The event was very informative and made me personally aware of many aspects of diversity of which I must embarrassedly admit I was unaware. I've collected some of the common themes from all of the speakers as well as some of the things I found particularly enlightening:
-Lead from the top - have a diversity vision. Companies that show success in diversity all have formal, robust programs with significant CEO involvement. CNO involvement cited as a perfect example.
-Lead from where you are - diversity management is a business operation, not a strategic goal. Make it part of day to day operations and it becomes collaborative change instead of forced change. Best practice: make reviewing diversity metrics part of the regular business metrics review, not a separate review. This reinforces that it's part of daily ops as opposed to a secondary objective.
-What gets measured, gets done. Diversity metrics are essential - they make many uncomfortable, but that is part of the process of getting change implemented. Move the needles - it doesn't have to be solved overnight, but it does have to show movement.
-Life/work balance. Shift from culture of attendance to culture of performance. Technology enables getting tasks done independent of physical location. This is a critical aspect of quality of work/life in recruiting/retaining women. Removing this barrier allows tapping into a huge talent pool (majority of top 100 grads from USNA are women - another reason to open sub service to women; 57% of bachelor degrees awarded last year went to women).
-Diversity is not about quotas. It's about setting goals and having leadership ensure that there is equity in outcome. The only way to do that is to measure it and talk to the numbers. To quote Congresswoman Sanchez: "Over 50% of children under 5 are hispanic. We deserve a place at the table. But that means we have the responsibility to do what is required when we take our seat at the table." To me this was the single most important aspect of the entire conference: diversity is not about trying to manipulate selections/promotions/hirings; it's about manipulating applications/opportunities to get a broader diversity in the selection pool. Time and time again, the theory is proven out that if you widen the aperture, the available talent pool gets deeper.
-Despite the above theme being pretty consistent, many of the speakers also pointed out that humans are highly visual. If we don't see others like ourselves we don't come in or, if we do come in, we don't stay. This was mainly pointed toward the leadership, where the highest diversity gaps exist. The point being a lot of highly talented people will join a company (or the Navy), but you won't be able to keep them if they don't see equitable outcomes in promotions. There's no longer any excuse for lack of diversity in leadership and talented people won't tolerate it. They'll move on to somewhere their talent is valued. Navy: 40K new personnel every year with 48% diversity compared to only 20% diversity in leadership; female retention is half the rate of males in the surface force; low diversity in TACAIR, clustered within particular sqdrns; sub force has lowest diversity with large yr group gaps with no flag eligibles (up to 7 yrs without a diverse accession).
-Navy's technology challenge: highly skewed towards STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) backgrounds -- 85% of officers. STEM divsersity in society is historically 14% - a benchmark the Navy meets. Due to the LLT to grow an Admiral (30 yrs from recruitment) our diversity benchmark for current accessions should not be the historical percentage today, it should be the expected percentage in 2040. Shift focus to 2040 demographics and grade officer accessions to that benchmark and we will remain on track.
-Many tools in the Diversity toolbox for leaders to tap into:
--Employee Resource Groups - "employee-owned, leadership supported"; groups chartered to create an inclusive culture and drive organizational objectives.
--Affinity Groups - this is something we EDO's are already doing: reaching out to affininity groups to drive changes in applicant pools (e.g. sending reps to Nat'l Assoc. of Black Physicist mtg).
--Diversity Training - anchor/embed training in your company's learning continuum.
--Communication - tailor comms to your audience and control the message: building diversity in your organization develops character in your "brand." Celebrate the successes.
--Supplier diversity - don't just focus on your organization, bring your suppliers in as well. (Marriott Int'l practices "positive discrimination" - all things being equal, pick the diverse supplier over all others).
Last observation: The conference had a steady drum beat on under-representation and its debilitating effects and the great business case for equity in outcome. Despite this, I noted that based on the audience in attendance, there appears to be a disconnect in the current diversity stakeholders and the future demographic. I estimated the audience to be 85% female and 80% African American (i.e. the groups we most commonly associate with under-representation). However, I only saw a handful of latinos despite all future demographic forecasts expecting the population to be 30% latino by 2043. My takeaway is that diversity management is way behind in addressing the coming explosion in this demographic (read: even diversity management has a diversity issue). Bottom Line -- Diversity will continue to be a lagging indicator unless addressed the way the CNO proposes: benchmark against future demographics as opposed to historical.
Please let me know if you have any questions.