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Underpaying Diverse Employees Is Not the Way to Leverage Diversity

In America, you are supposed to work hard and play by the rules. Have you ever been told by your parents that you need to jump twice as high to get halfway there? If you have, you must be a person of color or a woman. It was not a figure of speech. We now have more and more data to illustrate what people knew all alone just based on their life experience.

"Oracle's suppression of pay for its non-White, non-male employees is so extreme that it persists and gets worse over long careers; female, Black, and Asian employees with years of experience are paid as much as 25 percent less than their peers," the filing said. Oracle underpaid women and minority workers by $401 million, the Labor Department says (ORCL)

Can you imagine how much can be achieved if people who expect themselves to work extra hard won't have to waste their talents and energy on jumping twice as high?

Lever’s chief marketing officer, Leela Srinivasan, argues that “inclusion -- creating the conditions in which employees of all backgrounds feel empowered to do their best work -- needs to come first if you want your efforts to be sustainable.” How to Make Your Startup Team More Diverse

As team effectiveness and leadership consultant, it is my job to help people navigate differences and turn them into a source of creativity and agility. There are, however, some must-have conditions for diversity to give any company and any team a maximum competitive advantage:

  1. Nobody can be treated as "cheap labor";

  2. Leaders need to be accountable for creating a meaningful and sustainable culture of belonging.

How is your company leveraging diversity? By empowering all or by underpaying some?

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