In recent years, diversity and inclusion have become a hot topic among HR professionals. This resulted in a massive push for greater representation of minorities within organizations. However, diversity and inclusion is not just about skin color; it is about gender, age, skillsets, views, world outlooks, etc. Having a diverse team of employees can bring with it its own challenges, but the potential benefits are far too good to pass up. In order to bring themselves up to speed, many organizations have begun implementing diversity quotas. However, the use of such quotas comes with a few caveats.
To start, there are some obvious positives to implementing D&I quotas. The first is that there are occasions when quotas are necessary to get an organization’s diverse representation up to speed. In today’s always-on digital environment, news travels fast and companies are subject to scrutiny by the court of public opinion. Organic change is slow, which can open up organizations to criticism. Quotas on the other hand can help to speed up the process by holding people accountable for that change.
Another advantage that diversity quotas have is that it encourages recruitment officers and professionals to expand their own scope when it comes to looking for new candidates. Setting targets or quotas to hire a more diverse crew can be just the nudge hiring managers need to get out there and commit to finding them. Of course, this doesn’t mean that recruitment officers should go around hiring unsuitable talent just for the sake of diversity. Instead it is an opportunity to focus on finding diverse, new talent who can bring new value to the organization.
On the other hand, enforcing and mandating quotas will likely result in some resistance and resentment. This does not mean that there are bad people within the organization. They may simply be concerned that other people, especially those being more deserving of the position due to their talents, are being overlooked just to fill out said quota. In addition to this, those who are part of minority groups themselves do not want to feel undervalued just because an organization is adhering to a quota.
Quotas also tend to not tackle the real issue, which is the inequality itself. It is rather common for organizations to engage with quotas to satisfy the public, but not engage with the community in order to tackle the fundamental problems within the company, which is a lack of opportunity and the biases and the challenges that employees face.
In addition, seating quotas and targets can mean that there is an end goal for D&I. This should not be the case. Organizations are continuously learning and adapting in order to develop a truly inclusive and integrated workforce. D&I is not some problem to just scratch off the list once it is done. It is one long, continuous journey that should evolve alongside the company.