WP Brand Studio | The Washington Post | January 5, 2021
Mark Mathewson, a Black executive in the predominantly white tech sector, has worked at six or seven organizations in his career, and the majority of those places didn’t commit themselves to diversity to the full extent that they could have. They lacked “an appreciation for how leaning into inclusion creates a richer business environment,” Mathewson said. “It’s something that [would] kind of be pushed to the back burner.”
When change isn’t prioritized, there can’t be meaningful advancements or improvements made to the inclusivity of teams. Despite years—or even decades—of D&I initiatives, many U.S. organizations have fallen short of building truly representative workforces. (Case in point: There are only four Black CEOs among Fortune 500 companies today.)
In order for a “good faith effort” to really take place, Mathewson said, workplaces need to go deeper than establishing quick fixes, like diversity training programs (which, on their own, don’t often lead to significant change in an organization’s racial diversity or culture, according to some studies.) Employers need to tackle retention and build an environment where employees feel like they belong—like they can speak up and contribute, and like their needs will truly be met.