Why some companies say diversity and inclusion instead of diversity

Why some companies say “diversity and inclusion” instead of “diversity and inclusion”

The delusion of belonging is the result of a now-widespread corporate standard: Put your whole self to work. If you have the flexibility to work wherever you want and the freedom to discuss the social and political issues that are important to you, then ideally you will feel a sense of belonging in your company.

The motto “put yourself to work” predates the pandemic, but became something of an imperative at its peak as companies tried to stem a wave of layoffs. They were also responding to concerns that many people felt left out in the workplace. According to a 2022 report by think tank Coqual, about half of black and Asian professionals with a bachelor’s degree or higher have no sense of belonging at work.

Last year, the Society for Human Resource Management conducted its first corporate affiliation survey. 76 percent of respondents said their organization prioritizes belonging as part of their DEI strategy, and 64 percent said they plan to invest more in belonging initiatives this year. Respondents indicated that identity-based communities, such as employee resource groups, helped foster belonging, while mandatory diversity training did not.

Jonathan Haidt, a social psychologist and professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business, wishes we didn’t have this conversation about identity and belonging. “In a time of increasing political polarization, many people’s big picture doesn’t match the big picture of their peers,” said Mr. Haidt, a self-proclaimed centrist. “I’ve heard from so many managers. They can’t take it anymore – the constant conflict over people’s identities.”

In 2017 he and a colleague, Caroline Mehl, founded the Constructive Dialogue Institute, whose main product is an educational platform called Perspectives. The tool uses online modules and workshops to help users discover where their values ​​come from and why people from different backgrounds may have conflicting values.

In 2019, CDI began licensing Perspectives to corporations. Annual fees are $50 to $150 per employee license. Companies can also book a menu of live training options from $3,500 to $15,000 for a full day.