Deloitte, Do not throw the Baby with the Bath Water!

I just read a really great article about a “bold” move that Deloitte is undertaking to help move the needle forward regarding gender integration.

They are suggesting eliminating ERG’s or Affinity groups to emphasize working with White European men, who as they are aware, hold the power to make decisions which ultimately impact the capacity for more gender balance.

I am always fascinated by the way organizations take on an idea and through away what is in place! It always feel like we are entering the new flavor of the month paradigm! May I point out that is one of reason why gender parity or inclusion are nor taking traction. This process requires rigor and constancy. ERG and Affinity groups offer a great value, they provide a venue for safety and freedom to speak freely. They have acquired a lot of emotional and institutional capital that helps organizations understand what to do ,so that they can help employees be more engaged, motivated, ready for change and develop an overall sense of  alignment and collegiality.

I said in book more than four years ago that this conversation- gender integration- is about men and women. I also know that we are still in the very early stage of gender parity- women and other non-white male groups need to have a place to go to and receive support and new perspectives. I know because that is what I do and it works!

I wrote and article years ago –  Its been a great year for Gender Integration – It’s time for Men Talk!

Where I made the claim that we need BOTH processes working in tandem;

When we started our firm our vison was and is to become the leading expert in gender integration issues at work. This simple statement meant that we wanted to support organizations to create a sense of balance and complementarity within its workforce. That both men and women would be able to feel fully engaged and deliver great results.

It has been quite a powerful and exciting process. I always have said that we needed to and still do need to offer female employees training and learning experiences that help debunk wrong perceptions and incorrect paradigms.

It is also time to reach out to the other 50% of the population- men.

During our work we have seen two significant tendencies surface- first- women become aware of the behavior that is not applicable anymore, and second – men become aware of the subtle nuances related to women expectations as well as how unconscious biases can have a pivotal impact in decision making process such as determining whether a female candidate is promotable, ambitious for more, and committed to work.

The need for both ERG and other related initiatives need to continue and evolve into channels that promote mutual dialoged AND the time to engage the source of power- white European men, to debunk old ways of decision making and stereotypes has come. One without the other does not offer the right solutions. Hope we help keep the baby, it’s almost walking! Not a good time to drop!