Have you ever had a pain in your hip after doing yard work? Many do, and we reach for ice or heat to place on the area to subdue the pain. However, a chiropractor might suggest that you need an adjustment to ensure proper alignment. Now, I am not arguing the benefits of chiropractic care, although I do believe it provides benefits, but rather illustrating that the pain in the hip may be a symptom of a larger problem that could and should be addressed by the proper professional.
Diversity Management is no different. Most organizations attempt to apply diversity management to a “pain point” in an organization after something inappropriate has occurred. What is necessary is an assessment of the entire organizational system. Organizations are no different then the human body, in that it is a complex system based on interdependencies.
Diversity and Inclusion Practitioners are uniquely qualified to identify and develop strategies to address organizational misalignments that manifest themselves as “diversity problems.” Much like a Chiropractor who does not dispense medicine, D & I professionals are not responsible for several key functions within organizations like hiring, recruitment, and strategic direction. However, trained practitioners are skilled at assessing the organization and identifying other skilled professionals who should be involved in the treatment plan.
Founded or unfounded, Chiropractors have developed a reputation based on auto accidents. Many Chiropractors would argue that the reputation is not reflective of the profession and people are missing out of the true benefits of care by limiting their exposure to care to after accidents. Many perceive diversity in the same vain. Organizations seek out diversity practitioners after an “organizational accident” has occurred and are looking for the fastest roadmap back to “normalcy.” Like most chiropractic patients, as soon as the pain subsides, the commitment to treatment fades.
There are many horror stories about interactions with a Chiropractor and there are just as many horror stories about Diversity training and programs. In some cases, this is based on poorly trained professionals, in other cases; it is due to poor conceptual clarity about the service being provided and the customer’s role in treatment.
Diversity practitioners, like Chiropractors have to address the negative perceptions and stereotypes by educating customers on the benefits of preventive care versus injury response.