Checking the Box on Diversity and Inclusion

Featured on Biz New Orleans on July 30, 2019

Tokenism is the result of diversity without inclusion. In my own business, when we say to our vendors, partners and clients that we prefer to work with diverse organizations and their first response is “We don’t have a problem with hiring women or African Americans”…this tells us that you actually might. Those of us who educate others understand all the differences that make us diverse, but not everyone in the workplace does. Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) is so much more than employing one gender or race over another. And with regards to diversity, there is a variance in tolerating vs. celebrating, allowing vs. embracing.

When you open your hiring process to people from all communities, you then must make a hospitable and respectful work environment for them internally. In the restaurant and bar business, we often hear that finding the right talent is difficult, employee turnover is high and hiring managers have to “lower” their standards to fill roles. I challenge you to take another look at your standards and see how they are aligning with your purpose, your mission and values, and your community. We’ve surveyed numerous organizations and asked their staff if they can be their “true and authentic selves at work,” and overwhelmingly most respond negatively. How will you respond to this as a business owner?

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