Our CEO’s Take on Diversity & Inclusion

Earlier this week our CEO, Ryan, took to LinkedIn to share his thoughts on Diversity and Inclusion and it was a pretty popular - or some may say controversial - post. Either way, it ended up in a public discussion with hundreds of recruiters sharing their thoughts on D&I initiatives. 

His take was that Diversity and Inclusion are largely not discussed not because people don’t care, but because of the fear of saying the wrong thing. So is D&I a hot topic or can it result in being in hot water? 🥵

It’s not an outrageous statement, it’s been known for a while. HR Magazine reported that the majority of working professionals avoid D&I-related conversations for fear of getting something wrong or offending others. Other stats shared included:

  •  70% of respondents avoided conversations about socio-economic issues
  • 67% avoided race-related discussions
  • 67% avoided conversations about religion

Ryan’s argument is that people are worried about making a mistake and offending others,

More often than not, when someone asks a question they can get shut down or it can be perceived as insensitive and as a result curiosity and the opportunity to learn is being blocked by ‘steering clear’ of the subject altogether.

Ryan’s example of this happening was at a panel event last year where there was a D&I expert discussing internal mobility for older employees. An audience member asked how we encourage the older generation to use their learned wisdom and skills to re-enter the workforce post-retirement. He had recently hired a 68 year old man who he referred to endearingly as “the old boy”. In response, the expert accused him of being ageist and instead of helping him solve the problem, focussed on why he shouldn’t have said that.

At first, he thought it would be a controversial post, but it seems the majority agreed with him and brought some interesting points themselves.

Laura Clark said it can be a frightening subject and can feel like you’re treading on egg shells to prevent unintentionally offending someone which is having a negative effect with moving forward on the subject. She says “We need to encourage conversation, not shut it down. We need to be open to opinions and listen to others, not deem our own vocabulary as correct. We’re all learning and until you’re aware, you may not understand, and that’s okay.”

Steven McGown also said “People avoid the discussion because of fear and not having the right words which kills the positive intent. We should always focus on the intent rather than vocabulary!”.

Laura Dolphin also made a great point that it’s reactions like what Ryan witnessed put the person who posed the question off, as well as other audience members in the future.

Do you think this is a barrier in the recruitment process? It’s a topic that is so important and that should be discussed, so how do we move forward? See the full post and comments here and let us know your thoughts! >>>

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