Got Diversity and Inclusion Fatigue?

Panda Bored Nice Cute Animal Pictures

Yawn. It’s D&I. Again. Ugh. Blah blah blah blah blah.

It’s a concern for people like me, to see the eye-rolling, “yeah, I know all about it”, #whatevs looks on people’s faces. Worse still, to actually hear it. But when I read articles, like “Diversity fatigue is real: Atlassian’s State of Diversity Report 2018” on Medium, I properly start to worry.

What’s that, I hear? There’s a D&I lead at work, so it’s taken care of?

Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) is everyone’s responsibility, not just for D&I leads and HR departments to “sort out”. Inclusion is a culture, and culture is created, led and role-modelled by everyone, especially those at the top.

So, how do we address this fatigue?

The fatigue will come from not be able to see any action, not knowing how to take action, or being overwhelmed by the number of issues.

I’ll start with the last in this list. There’s no getting away from it, D&I is a major societal matter. “Minority groups” of all description are not treated equitably, fairly or equally, despite legislation, so, to properly tackle it in the workplace will require time, effort and resource. Add to it being the right thing to do, the benefits of a diverse and inclusive environment, it also simply makes sense to put in that time, effort and resource.

I’m going to lay my cards on the table. I believe if you or your company/organisation has invested in Unconscious Bias (UB) Awareness training as your means to bring about change in your workplace, I’m sorry to say, this has been a waste. Awareness of UB does not bring about change. You can’t do anything to change your bias; mitigations are next to useless for individuals. UB is a human biological need, it’s not designed to be changed. I am not the only one to feel this way, as you can read in David McQueen’s article “Stop Making Crap Excuses”.

It’s processes that must change for organisations and individuals need to know how to move from being aware they need to be alert to bias, to actual action.

How can we become more inclusive if UB training isn’t the answer?

The clearest, most measurable, way of moving people from awareness they need to be better at inclusion to taking action on it, is through the academically robust process of the Cultural Intelligence Quotient (CQ).
A CQ survey measures Drive to be better at inclusion, the Knowledge needed, the Strategy planning and the Action outcomes. With an assessment and numbers to work on to improve, individuals can pinpoint the areas letting them down and take that initiative.

Being able to be clear, bring the unknown into the known, helps to fight that fatigue, because people and organisations can then make proper progress, and that it always energising to see and be part of.