Are policies enough to cultivate an inclusive workplace?

The problem with policies is that “mandatory” implementation can turn a good idea into a sledgehammer. Diversity & Inclusion initiatives are helping businesses improve the quality of their decision-making. However, their success has been a mixed bag. One important reason is forced standardization of behaviors.

One company we worked with imposed a quota for female representation in their management layers. With a dearth of trained women managers available for hire, the implementers of this policy were under pressure to promote women to managerial levels. The rapid promotion meant that many of these women were not trained for the senior positions they found themselves in. Unfortunately, their lack of competence became a challenge for the company and the blame was placed on the D, E and I initiative.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is a process, and it takes time to change mindsets. Policies which impose quotas may not be effective in the long term. D, E & I initiatives present an opportunity for progress but must be handled with care.

What could be some alternative ways to build a mindset?