Houston is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the United States, so it’s vital for companies in the Gulf Coast area to recognize the importance of having a culture of diversity and inclusion. I recently read a great book about diversity called That’s BS [Bias Synapse] by Risha Grant. It talks about how individual biases, which were developed over a span of their life, creates the beliefs people have about a particular culture, group or religion.
These biases affect the progress of inclusion which is the second half of diversity and inclusion. Sometimes we are ignorant of the biases we hold. For instance, if you were bullied in school by someone with red hair, you may unconsciously dislike or distrust someone with red hair and may overlook them for a promotion or hiring opportunity with your company. We should in a sense “check ourselves” for conscious or unconscious biases that we may hold and not let them affect the way we make decisions. I know that’s easier said than done, but if we at least recognize that we have these issues it’s easier to address them head on.
While reading this book I also realized that diversity is basically about YOU and inclusion is more about US. Organizations that focus on diversity and inclusion should recognize that diversity is about the differences we have; but inclusion focuses on how these differences make us better, make our teams more cohesive and our product and services more comprehensive. With today’s growing number of multi-cultural consumers, including those with a disability, senior citizens, LGBTQ and so many others; if companies don’t adjust and grow with the changing landscape of the community, they may find themselves and their services irrelevant and socially unfavorable. With that in mind, the idea of diversity and inclusion is not only a socially responsible stand to take, but an overall improvement for a company. Employee satisfaction reduces turnover and ultimately increases the bottom line. With Houston being as diverse as it is, a company’s goal and mission should equally affect people from multiple demographics which will help sustain it for the long run.
Cornelius Booker is a senior member of the Regional Navigator team and a graduate of Oklahoma State University where he received his Bachelors in Marketing and later received his M.B.A with a focus on Business Marketing and Management. With his personal experience and passion for the disabled community, Cornelius’ insights are an invaluable asset to the Workforce Solutions organization.