Comparing Apples to Oranges

Comparing Apples to OrangesWhen you automatically lump the concepts of Diversity Inclusion and Compliance together you could be sending the wrong message about diversity. Moreover, your actions could be compounding the problem by how you address these two nuanced but distinct issues. When it comes to corporate identity and image, it pays (sometimes literally) to know the subtle distinction.

Now, make no mistake that there is overlap between Inclusion and Compliance. And the two are often associated together. But never mistake them as one-and-the-same, or even equal. To do so only contributes to the wrong corporate environment, and subsequently the wrong corporate image.

True diversity is about Inclusion. It is proactive and executed in the aims of being a thought-leader and of setting a positive example. It is appreciative of the benefits of a diverse workforce and aspires to include them as much as possible. Inclusion is all about understanding the power of the relationships around us and how the differences in those relationships are a strength.

Diversity inclusion does not put one social or economic segment of the available workforce above another, whether to satisfy personal biases or merely to satisfy external regulations. Rather, it seeks to include as many segments as possible in order to make that workforce better, and ultimately improve that workforce’s retention.

Diversity initiatives are corporate goals devised to be implemented as part of your Affirmative Action Plan (AAP). These goals will measure acceptance of any targeted minority talent pool as well as those cultural differences within the confines of the workplace. Diversity initiatives are always two part — first how to create diversity; and second how to manage the diversity action plan. The value of your company’s diversity action plan is calculated through awareness and positive recognition of minority hires within the corporate environment.

So what is mere Diversity Compliance? And how is it so distinct from Inclusion, even though we often say “Diversity and Compliance” together?

Compliance is reactive, and performed in order to satisfy higher mandates, but not out of any higher purpose or initiative.

It is about making sure that your corporate policies are equal to the task that will enable your company to take advantage of the opportunity to do business with the government or one of the government’s own third party vendors (pretty much on any level). This has nothing to do with Inclusion.

Compliance is making sure that your company has an Affirmative Action Plan (AAP) and making sure that the AAP has secured the approval of the D.O.L. / E.E.O.C and or the OFCCP.

Compliance tracks your corporate community outreach Good Faith Efforts (GFE’s) by documenting your targeted minority recruitment including the way you can show that you have invested in both corporate and community GFE’s.

While there are many diversity recruitment options available to you on behalf of your company it is important to take a minute to ask “Is this really about Diversity Inclusion?” or “Is this just about Compliance?”

While there are some solutions that do seek to address both Diversity Inclusion and Compliance, these are fewer and farther between. Just keep in mind what solutions you’re currently using, and whether those are actually suitable for what your company needs.

About the Author

Mark Cohen has been working since 1995 to promote Diversity and Inclusionin the workplace through targeted minority recruitment and community outreach efforts. In his position as EVP and Director of New Business Development at Equality Mark has become a recognized authority on Minority Recruitment and OFCCP Compliance Good Faith Efforts.

Equality and its family of Diversity Recruitment Vehicles have been at the forefront of targeted minority recruitment and compliance since 1997. At Equality they have been advocates of promoting Diversity & Inclusion as well as D.O.L. and OFCCP compliance efforts in America’s workforce; bringing the vast and talented pools of African-American, Hispanic, Veteran, and Female workers to the companies that need them. This has been accomplished through its own  targeted minority community recruitment and community resources, The Black Perspective, Veterans Enterprise, Hispanic Today and Women in Business & Industry.