It’s unfortunate that in the 21st century, businesses are still trying to figure out effective ways to achieve demographic diversity in the workplace. While the legal profession has seen exceptional accomplishments spearheaded by underrepresented groups, there is still much to be done in the legal area and other fields of business.
Companies everywhere are working on diversity mission statements, policies and programs — but are they really making a difference? According to a study conducted by researchers at University of California Berkeley, Harvard University and University of Minnesota, the answer is an unfortunate no. Their analyses of federal and survey data of more than 700 private sector establishments found diversity training and evaluations intended to moderate managerial bias “… are least effective at increasing the share of white women, black women, and black men in management.”
Are any efforts working well? The study found that while mentoring and networking have modest effects on managerial diversity, establishing leadership responsibility for achieving diversity leads to the most successful increases. The researchers note that organizations simultaneously doing all of these things — taking responsibility, mentoring, networking, training and evaluating — see the best effects.
In short, to truly achieve diversity in the workplace, leaders have to hold themselves accountable, and their businesses have to enact real strategies beyond simple marketing tools that merely look like they’re putting in the work.
Benefits of Diversity in Law and Other Fields
Retaining a diverse staff in the workplace benefits both the business and its clients. Well-rounded businesses bring a variety of perspectives to solve a myriad of issues. According to an article in Entrepreneur, it can also have the following advantages:
- Gain access to insights, experiences and worldviews of the full marketplace
- Drive innovation
- Appreciate differences across cultures, genders and more
- Increase creativity
- Make staff recruitment easier
- More effectively market to all groups of consumers
These ongoing research efforts will hopefully result in a new era where a diverse workplace is the norm. Of course, it’s up to businesses to adopt best practices and stick to them in order to achieve demographic diversity in the workplace.
A West Point graduate where he served as captain and military aviator, John Bair continues his commitment to our country through his efforts within the settlement planning industry. He has represented families of victims lost in the Flight 3407 crash, offered pro bono services to the families of 9/11 victims and drafted the first consumer protection bill for plaintiffs (H.R. 3699).