Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Diversity excuses debunked

I'm a bit behind on my reading, but I just finished an article that I think is very worthwhile. It's a book excerpt from Joe Watson, Without Excuses: Unleash the Power of Diversity to Build Your Business, published in Black Enterprise's November 2006 issue (for some reason it's not in their archive yet).

Here are some of the common "excuses for diversity failures":
1. "We can't find any."
2. "Our search firms didn't bring us a diverse slate."
3. "Diversity candidates just don't make it through the hiring process."
4. "Diversity doesn't affect us."
5. "Diverse professionals don't want to work here--there is no one here like them."
6. "We don't have the resources."
7. "We hired a diverse senior executive, but that hasn't moved the numbers at all."
8. "Our hiring managers won't cooperate."
9. "We only promote from within."
10. "We made a mistake by promoting a lot of minorities too soon, before they were ready."
11. "We did diversity training and nothing happened."
12. "We don't have the time or resources to train a bunch of new people."

Neither Watson nor I have any patience for these statements. Do more and better research. Fire the search firm and hire a more effective one. Offer the candidate more money. Tie hiring managers' compensation to achievements in diversity hiring. And so forth. "Once you've stripped away your disabling excuses," Watson writes, "you'll be ready to move on to building a productive, successful diversity recruiting program, and growing your business." Good advice for anyone, whether in academics or in the practice.

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