Nonprofit Diversity and Inclusion Need for Action

I mproving internal diversity and inclusion is frequently a struggle for nonprofit organizations. Well-intentioned staff are often overworked, underpaid and have so much to do that adding another item is overwhelming and exhausting. And while improving the internal diversity and inclusion of your organization is important or imperative, how do you formulate a plan if you don’t know the steps to be successful? These real concerns become more compelling when considering that inadequate attention to diversity and inclusion is costly, and that quality attention to diversity and inclusion results in major gains in productivity and effectiveness. Let’s take a look at these issues and review simple strategies to help you move forward Staff turnover, training expenses, limited grant opportunities. Nonprofit leaders have a duty to be good financial stewards to their mission. Inadequate attention to diversity and inclusion can easily cost a small-to-medium sized organization over $100,000 per year. Staff turnover is expensive.The cost of replacing one staff member is 50%-200% of his/her annual salary, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. HR staff time, supervisor time, accrued time-off payout, temporary coverage, reduction in program delivery, team disruptions, hiring activities and efficiently. The Costs

training all add up. Replacing staff who have less than a year on the job is even more expensive since employees are not fully productive for months. Diverse staff are more likely to leave an employer they find unfair. According to the 2007 Corporate Leavers Report, people of color are three times as likely to cite workplace unfairness as the only reason for leaving their employer. Gay and lesbian professionals said workplace unfairness was the only reason they left their employer. Recruiting for diversity without fostering an inclusive work environment results in those diverse recruits leaving an organization after a short period of time. Unconscious bias, mono-cultural norms, and innumerable micro- aggressions that are invisible to the dominant culture leave staff feeling excluded and treated unfairly. Traditional diversity training doesn’t work and may cause more harm than good. While many organizations start with diversity training, recent research has shown that traditional models of training actually have an adverse effect.The 2012 Harvard Business Review article, “Diversity Training Doesn’t Work,”compared trainings that focus on appreciating difference against those that polarize difference. Polarizing trainings led to people feeling defensive and cynical, increased staff turnover and resulted in the organization having to pay to fix the mess. In some cases, it even led to expensive lawsuits.

28 I Nonprofit Professional Performance Magazine

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