Quick-fix diversity tricks will not deliver in the long term
I have to disagree with Martin Tiplady’s comment in your opinion column (Personnel Today, 7 February). Positive discrimination will cause more problems than it solves. If we have to resort to this to meet targets, then we need to change the emphasis on targets. Meeting targets does not change the culture.
Once we move away from the criteria in selection that the best person for the job should be appointed only on their ability to do the job, we confirm all the sceptics’ fears about diversity being merely an exercise in political correctness.
Positive discrimination is a quick-fix solution, and quick fixes in diversity management do not work.
Staff from any minority group will not stay with an organisation if they feel they are a token appointment, simply there to make up the numbers. What kind of value would you feel if you got the job because you were disabled, black, gay, etc?
You also have to deal with the ‘white’ backlash which, if not dealt with, can undermine all previous work in the diversity change process.
If an organisation takes diversity seriously, it must begin working with its white middle-class males. If your ‘in group’ is not convinced of the business case for diversity, then we might as well leave the pitch – the game is over.
Tiplady is right when he says we need leadership, not words, but we need leadership that implements measures that change the culture of an organisation, no matter how long that takes. Then our colleagues in all minority groups, and indeed all staff, will feel valued for their skills, their intellect and their overall contribution to the organisation. The payback is that they will remain with the organisation and attract more members of minority communities.
Head of diversity and equality,