An ever-increasing number of organizations across Canada are developing and implementing diversity programs and initiatives, but their good intentions don’t always yield the desired results.
Ineffective diversity programs can create diversity fatigue for both staff who are supportive as well as staff who don’t see the need for the program. This can have them asking, "Are we there yet?"
Lack of progress and tangible change can frustrate those who understand the need for diversity programs. They can begin to lose faith that diversity programs can effect change within organizations.
Management and staff who don’t buy into these programs often use their apparent lack of effectiveness as justification for their opposition to diversity programs. They might claim that the programs themselves are ineffective rather than recognizing that the true source of the problem is the implementation of the program.
We have identified 11 common mistakes that undermine the success of diversity programs.
Each organization conducts hiring differently. Some use informal hiring processes and pay a great deal of attention to whether the candidate is of similar background and has similar interests to existing staff, and whether they will fit in with the others in the organization. Some organizations have more formal hiring processes, but may allow managers to consider a range of factors unrelated to the candidate's skills and abilities to do the job. In many organizations, unconscious biases play a role in the selection of new employees, and racial and gender stereotypes may influence who is hired into which positions.
"Where are you from?"
"No, where are you really from?"
"Markham and Sheppard"
"No, where are you really, really from?"
"52 Green Apple Way. Why?"
I used to think that it was my Scarborough accent that gave me away. And wondered why people who grow up in different parts of the City of Toronto had different accents…. and then I realized what they were really asking me. Despite having come to Canada when I was four and spending my entire life in Toronto, the message -- intentional or not -- is that I am not Canadian. Because of my skin colour, I'm a foreigner.