Deloitte Says It’s Time to End Diversity Groups


Does your company have a bunch of “affinity” groups? For instance, a women’s group, a gay group, or an African American group? Lots of companies do. The idea is that if you bring people who share characteristics together they can help each other succeed.

Bloomsberg Businessweek reports that Deloitte is moving away from these affinity groups.

With diversity progress stalling in parts of corporate America, Deloitte is beginning to shift away from traditional approaches built around gender, race, or sexual orientation and instead working to get a broader buy-in, particularly from white males. After 24 years, WIN, the women’s initiative at Deloitte, will end. Over the next 18 months the company will also phase out Globe, which supports gay employees, and groups focused solely on veterans or minority employees. In their place will be so-called inclusion councils that bring together a variety of viewpoints to work on diversity issues.

Deloitte is still focusing on increasing the numbers of women and minorities in their company, but not by keeping everyone separate. Deepa Purushothaman, who has lead WIN, the women’s group explains:

By having everyone in the room, you get more allies, advocates, and sponsors. A lot of our leaders are still older white men, and they need to be part of the conversation and advocate for women. But they’re not going to do that as much if they don’t hear the stories and understand what that means.

This is a very good point. If you want to have change you have to speak with people who currently have the power. Leaving out one group of people means that you aren’t embracing true diversity–you are simply putting people together. True diversity means you need ideas from all sides and viewpoints.

Should your company stop having lunch and learns for a single group only? Should they tackle diversity by including everyone at the table–including white men? I think this is a step in the right direction. Segregation doesn’t actually solve problems, and putting people into groups and excluding people who don’t look like the group from participating isn’t actual diversity.

It will be interesting to see how Deloitte’s actual diversity numbers change and interesting to see if other large companies follow their example.

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