Ultimately this is what will define your culture and your employee engagement. Do your actions match your words? It’s not enough to say you care about mental health, diversity, or developing the people who work for you. You had better put something behind that. If you’ve had layoffs recently, don’t expect anyone to believe that you care about these things on your words alone. Those layoffs told everyone in the organization that they were expendable. They could be next, and the only thing that truly matters is how much they make for you. If you care about their growth, wellbeing and being a diverse company, you had better show up with something other than words.
While I would love to end this with a condemnation of venture capitalists and hedge fund managers, I think it’s important to point out that many of us are complicit. Fund managers seeking the best short-term profits for their investments run funds whose shareholders include most of us. When we log in and look at our IRA or 401(k) accounts, we look for how much the value has increased, not what makes the most sense for society. Our account balance looks a little nicer when a company lays off 10,000 employees and the stock price increases.
It’s all entwined. To paraphrase Michael Corleone – “We’re all part of the same hypocrisy.”
This might interest some folks who’ve recently been laid off.
There’s a lot of talk coming from organizations about their commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Too many of them create opportunities that don’t match those words. Office jobs that require workers to be in one place, at the same time, all the time, are inhernetly not as diverse as they could be. Companies that require all of their employees to travel for team events are not as inclusive as they could be. Companies that only hire consultants who will travel to them in peron are not as inclusive as they could be.
Certain jobs require some of these things, but many jobs where the organization requires it can just as easily be done without those requirements. When they do that, they’re not matching what they say about DE&I. They are clearly emphasizing their preferences over their commitment.