On 2 earlier blog posts I write 1) that motivation is the bottom-line success and 2) diversity is about opportunity. In this blog I want to dig into how a diversity façade can negatively affect motivation.
First, let’s look at 2 diversity definitions*:
- Of, relating to, or supporting broad social, political, and educational change, especially to redress historical injustices in matters such as race, class, gender, and sexual orientation.
- Being or perceived as being overly concerned with such change, often to the exclusion of other matters.
No, these are not definitions of diversity. These are definitions of politically correct. Diversity is not political correctness. Diversity is opportunity, the opposite of political correctness. Political correctness has given diversity a bad name.
HR professionals must own a suitable amount of blame for the politically correct hijack of diversity. People do recruit, hire, and promote with a bias towards those most like themselves. Some fight against it more than others and while some fight against their bias, they can over-compensate to the extreme: a reverse bias. Hiring or promotion decisions soon become based on fear: fear of legal action.
Fear is the domain of the politically correct and we should not be confused about the politically correct–they oppose diversity. Diversity and Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Laws look to equalize the talent pool and to provide opportunity.
Bias is not white man’s burden alone, it happens between and within all race, religion, or creed. We all have a bias. Diversity is not served by an arbitrary quota of under-represented groups as an unalienable right.
The politically correct pass judgment on what is appropriate; on who deserves opportunity; and on who should be censored. HR allow themselves to be the pawns of the politically correct. When HR efforts limit diversity to a percentage, the percentage of minority candidates or the percentage of female executives, diversity no longer means opportunity. HR no longer focus on talent and organization development, but on compliance.
When an organization uses an excuse of not upsetting anyone, the norm becomes the politically correct notion of truth. The organization derailed by the politically correct becomes obedient to those most strident. HR then becomes bullied into an emphasis on the role of women, the ethnic minority, someone’s sexual orientation, or religion over an opportunity for all. Worse, those that do not, the politically correct alienate.
When all can contribute thoughts, skills, and abilities, the entire social network benefits. Diversity is the opportunity to contribute a view and share your perspective. When an employee expects a fair opportunity to stand on their own merit, the only barrier to their advancement is their motivation. When all have comfort to contribute then motivation becomes the core work culture and inertia of sustained excellence.
Diversity does not keep an organization out of public relations or legal trouble. Diversity provides opportunity. Diversity impacts an organization through opportunity, not fear. Political correctness is the enemy of diversity.
Does your organization enforce diversity or celebrate diversity?
Is your diversity initiative a political correctness campaign in disguise?