Recession creates a breakdown for all of us. It is a time we can reflect on what is working and what is not. When more African American men loose their jobs in the workplace during a recession, it is a sign that our efforts to promote diversity are not effective.
Here are some trends that we find for diversity in a recession:
1. Diversity funding is squeezed:
The companies that support diversity believe that it is only a thing to do when things are doing well. In a recession, it is considered not so important so the budgets are slashed. And the first budget to get stripped is the one for diversity programs.
2. Innovation Halted
The companies trying to cut costs forget that it is by leveraging diversity they can continue to innovate – which is important to get through recession. The short-term focus on how to improve the bottom line becomes paramount. And so diversity initiatives are cut down.
3. Employee Morale crushed
The environment in which we work has an impact of workers productivity. With lay offs the employee morale gets hurt. Many employees who have moved to a new country in search of opportunities have no sound structure to protect them from financial insecurity in case of layoffs. In an environment like this, diverse workforce morale gets crushed. The company looses the risk taking and new thinking that these employees could have brought in.
The recent recession is a proof that we are way off from what we had set out to achieve for Diversity in the workforce.
Ask Cedric Herring, a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, who studied about 1,000 companies of all sizes and industries to see whether diversity pays. His answer was an unequivocal yes.
In his research, Herring examined the ethnicity and gender of employees, along with each company’s actual earnings, market share, profitability and other factors. His findings were that most diverse companies tended to have the most profit, while the least diverse companies tended to have the least profit.
So, the real question is ‘Why is diversity considered important in good times when profit is important all the time?”
Deepika is Founder of Invincibelle. You can follow her tweets on http://twitter.com/invincibelle. She is the author of the book DiversityTweet