When I hear of DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) initiatives in the work place, it’s often used in a quota context, and that’s never sat well with me. If given the chance to evaluate who’s missing from the table, it’s not usually that difficult to see which demographics are missing. The majority of DEI initiatives I’ve seen are simply referring to cis-women.
If you’re involved in these initiatives, you’re likely still missing BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour), accessibility initiatives, and I feel I’m in a lonely silo where I also note age diversity is usually ignored – are there people under 30 and senior citizens on your teams?
Instead of thinking of it from a quota context, I’ve always seen it as perspectives that are missing from the table, in that you’re missing enrichment and opportunities as a result.
The generational perspectives stands out to me as one I’ve learned over the last decade especially, each generation has notably different desires in the workplace, for example, do you prefer work-life balance, or work-life integration? Where do you stand on work-from-home and the socialization of working in a shared work environment?
Not only do these missing perspectives impact your internal teams, they also miss opportunities in reaching your customers, or improving your products and services.
If you want to go further down, as someone who works almost exclusively in tech, a notable and growing gap is what we call the digital divide which is the demographic of those who don’t have access to technology, and/or those who don’t have the time or resources to access or understand such things. Usually there is overlap from this demographic and those in the global south where socio-economic and geo-political boundaries exist, usually stemming from what has been known as the “third world” or those in poverty.
Finally, I would also including mental health and addiction – it seems that the anxiety, depression, and addiction demographics are rising by the year. Access to therapy even in first world countries with socialized health care are few and far between, which can create large barriers to participation.
There are many deeper nuances in considering perspectives that are missing from the table, these are just a few I can document during a few minute stream-of-consciousness while writing this between meetings.
We all become richer when we spend the time considering who is missing from the table, and engaging with those who are – with some deep active listening as to a new, richer world of opportunities we can create as a result.