The Dark Side of Equity is the Absence of Inclusion

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One term I am using a lot these days is “Virtue Signaling.” In case you are unaware of its definition, I will include this explanation from Urban Dictionary.

Virtue Signaling

To take a conspicuous but essentially useless action ostensibly to support a good cause but actually to show off how much more moral you are than everybody else.

Fred: I see George has changed his profile picture to show his support for refugees.

Barbara: Has he donated money or time? Is he giving English lessons? Is he making a room available?

Fred: No, no, he’s just virtue signalling.

After the George Floyd protests and the activities of Black Lives Matter and social justice warriors, corporations have decided to express their concern for social justice by donating large sums of money and making grandiose staffing promises that they are unlikely to keep due to talent supply shortages. Here are a few examples of what I mean, companies announcing HUGE hiring goals in order to virtue signal their compliance to woke ideology.

United Airlines’ New Pilot Trainees To Be At Least 50% Women, People Of Color

United Airlines is planning to train 5,000 new pilots at its new pilot training academy by 2030, of which at least half will be women and people of color.

In a statement, the only major U.S. airline to own a flight school said its United Aviate Academy will begin accepting applications for the training program for commercial airline pilot. All 5,000 pilots will be guaranteed a job with United, after they complete the requirements of the Aviate program.

Dell says by 2030, it wants half its workforce to be women

The company said Tuesday it plans to have women account for half of its global workforce by 2030. Additionally, the company said its goal is to have black employees, as well as those who identify as either Hispanic or Latino, account for 25% of its U.S. workforce.

NBC News Boss Pledges to Make Staff 50% Women, 50% People of Color – But No Timetable

“We want to increase diversity and inclusion both in front of and behind the camera, and earn the trust of every community in America that relies on us for exceptional journalism,” Conde said in the video. “We realize that this is an ambitious objective and it will of course take time to do in a proper way. We understand this is a challenging time to start this effort but there are always reasons to say, ‘Not now.’ To get there tomorrow, we have to start today.”

On the one hand, I am glad to see companies emphasize their efforts to be more diverse. (But, umm… Were they actively discriminating before these initiatives?) And on the other, I can see how these goals, no matter how well intentioned, will be difficult to meet. As such, there will be some shortcuts made; its inevitable. Some companies will lower the bar of job requirements to make things more equitable and do themselves a disservice. And I have no complaints about that. Its your company, do what you want. However, I do have a worry when lowering the bar puts lives at stake. Let me share a few examples of what I mean.

DIVERSITY > EXPERIENCE

Tucker Carlson did a report on how the Obama Administration changed the rules on how Air Traffic Controllers were hired. Rather than focus on skills and experience, the greatest criteria for judgement was on race, despite overall safety concerns. Here is a quote from his report.

Applicants typically needed to complete military service or pass the FAA’s Collegiate Training Initiative Program. After that, they sat for a specially-designed exam that tested for relevant job skills, skills like math ability and complex problem-solving.

Only those with the highest scores made the cut. The system was designed to choose the best. And for decades, it worked.

Then, during the Obama administration, activist bureaucrats decided that the pool of air traffic controllers wasn’t diverse enough. They never explained why diversity ought to matter in air traffic control or why it was more important than traditional goals like competence and public safety.

The FAA, without a vote, just scrapped the old hiring system and replaced it with a diversity-friendly version. Most people have no idea this happened.

The FAA now requires many of its applicants to fill out what they call a biographical questionnaire before another other screening. Those who answer the questions in a way that diversity monitors don’t like cannot be considered for hiring, no matter how much experience they have or how well they may do on the other portions of the testing.

Click here to watch the video report in its entirety. However, it is something you might not want to watch if you are flying anytime soon. (Click here to watch his follow-up report on the same topic.)

DIVERSITY > ABILITY

Women are failing the physical requirements of being in the armed forces. So, in order to make things more equitable, they are considering lowering their standards so more women can get in. Hopefully, China, Russia and Iran will follow suit so we can fight with each other equally. #Sarcasm Here is a quote from The Telegraph.

Research showed that the Army Combat Fitness Test [ACFT], which is the same for male and female soldiers, was leading to lower results for women with a knock-on effect for promotions. An early Pentagon study showed that women were failing the ACFT at a rate of 65 per cent, while only 10 percent of men did. Congress has halted implementation of the new test and the Army has launched an independent review into whether it is fair.

In the ACFT there are six events – the maximum deadlift, a standing power throw, hand-release push-ups, a sprint, drag and carry, leg tuck, and a two-mile run. To pass the test those taking it must score at least 360 points out of a possible 600, and those who achieve higher scores are more likely to be promoted.However, average sores for women so far are said to have been 100 points lower.

Congress has now declared that the test in its current form should not be a factor in deciding whether someone gets promoted.

Fortunately, there is some pushback on this consideration. Further in the article it reads…

Last month, Captain Kristen Griest, the US Army’s first female infantry officer, welcomed the ACFT and argued that it should be scored the same for men and women.

Not doing so would have “insidious impacts on combat effectiveness,” she said.

She said critics might call her “uncaring” but “nothing could be further from the truth.”

She said: “To not require women to meet equal standards in combat arms will not only undermine their credibility, but also place those women, their teammates, and the mission at risk.

Thank you Captain Griest. I now have one more news story to share. This one from the land down under.

DIVERSITY > FAIRNESS

ABC News in Australia reported this bit of eye-popping information, “Queensland Police Service unfairly hired women to meet gender targets, CCC finds.” Here is a quote from their report.

The Queensland Police Service (QPS) engaged in “corrupt manipulation” and “discriminatory” practices to achieve a 50 per cent female hiring target, an investigation by the state’s anti-corruption watchdog has found.

Three people have been suspended in the wake of the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) probe, which revealed QPS staff tasked with the strategy began to “manipulate processes, data, language and the truth” to gratify executive “aspirations” and the organisation’smedia image.

The investigation examined the period between December 2015 and October 2018. The report found that if various discriminatory practices had not been implemented, an estimated 200 more meritorious male applicants would have been successful in their attempt to join the QPS.

Here are key points from the article:

  • Women who failed physical, cognitive and psychological assessments progressed in the recruitment process
  • The target to increase female recruits was set in 2015, when women made up just 26pc of sworn officers
  • The Crime and Corruption Commission report found the strategy was poorly communicated and discrimination was implemented to reach goals

With all that said, this is the best quote in the article to me because it is something I fully expect to be repeated (in one form or another) by virtue signaling companies with unrealistic hiring goals.

“The central problem identified in the report is the corrupt manipulation of recruitment processes and the reporting of these processes, and how this was significantly enabled at the QPS by a failure of leadership,” the CCC said.

DIVERSITY < INCLUSION

I think a lot of companies will do their best to meet lofty goals and when/if they do not succeed, certain dangers are possible. They might lower education and experience standards in order to hire more people of color. (Which itself is a soft bigotry of low expectations.) They might lower physical requirements so more women can enter a traditionally male field. They might allow discriminatory practices so they can meet hiring goals at the expense of losing out on greater talent. As I said previously, its your company, do what you like. However, I am very concerned when lowering standards to meet a hiring goal puts lives at stake as when diversity outweighs skills and experience in the areas of air traffic controllers, military and security services.

I think a lot of diversity efforts are well intentioned, I do. However, I think in the areas I mentioned, inclusion should be just as valued (if not more so) than diversity. I think this quote from Study.com explains it well.

There’s a lot of chatter today about diversity in the workforce, and that’s a good thing. Diversity, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), means ”the collective mixture of differences and similarities that includes, for example, individual and organizational characteristics, values, beliefs, experiences, backgrounds, preferences and behaviors.”

So, Ted’s workforce that includes women, different races, a mixture of older and younger employees, and people with different levels of education or skill sets is a good example of diversity at work. It means that Ted’s workplace environment should boast diverse perspectives, thoughts, and ideas that help the business succeed.

Except, that’s not what’s really happening.

Even though Ted is embracing the idea of diversity, he’s failing at inclusion. Inclusion, the SHRM says, is ”the achievement of a work environment in which all individuals are treated fairly and respectfully, have equal access to opportunities and resources, and can contribute fully to the organization’s success.”

Inclusion means that a diverse pool of employees are respected and valued, allowing them to reach their full potential while contributing to the success of the business as a whole. So, if diversity is represented as various puzzle pieces, inclusion represents what the puzzle looks like when everything is pieced together. In short, you can work in a diverse environment without working in an inclusive one.

If there is a dark side to diversity in the workplace, it is the absence of inclusion. For a workplace to be everything that these virtue signaling corporations say they want, they need diversity and inclusion integrated within their workplace culture and certainly inside their recruitment processes.

That’s it for today! More tomorrow. Please share this with your network and subscribe to my blog, if you have not already. In the meantime, check these out, in case you missed it.

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