There is a long thread of articles, studies and discussions on how diversity is good for the performance and the innovation of an organisation. We have spent energy, resources and time to produce the data and evidences that prove that diversity is good for any organisation. Governments and businesses have implemented gender, racial and age quotas to support diversity. And yet we haven’t move the needle far enough to ensure equality and fairness.
Wikipedia defines quotas in employment as “numerical requirements for hiring, promoting, admitting and/or graduating members of a particular group.”
I am not in favour of quotas as a solution to the lack of diversity in the workplace. I believe that when we focus on just quota all we get is maybe an illusion of diversity without any inclusion.
On the surface, quotas seem to be a good solution. They provide an impression of equal representation of employees. On a fundamental level it’s like using a concealer to cover dark spots.
When focusing exclusively on quota we reduce diversity and inclusion to a number and (once more) we strip away the human element from a far more complex equation of inclusion.
I personally do not want to be hired or be invited at a conference to balance someone’s quota. I want to be part of something, contribute, grow, help to solve a problem. I do not want to feel an “unrepresented” specie in danger of extinction. What is actually un-represented and at risk of extinction is inclusion.
Quota make us think only about diversity not inclusion. It might only solve for diversity but rarely for inclusion. It becomes a topic of compliance, not of trust, belonging and positive influence.
Inclusion doesn’t come naturally to us. This doesn’t mean we are bad people. It means we need to focus and challenge our natural and (unconscious) biases to navigate differences. This is, most of the time, uncomfortable.
If we want a change, it is time we elevate the dialogue and disrupt the status quo and comfort zone we like to hide in. We need to reinvent the ways we work and lead.
Any company can meet a quota, it is harder to establish and foster inclusion. The innovation business is seeking to keep up with demands and competition, the boost in performance and creativity you so desperately dream of, come from inclusion not from quota.
Metrics measure results -- they don't create any change or innovation. What change do you really want? A change in quota or a change in inclusion?
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