The Surge in Corporate Diversity Initiatives – Real and Longstanding, or a “Flash in the Pan?”

Is this really the origin of “Flash in the Pan?” Check down at the end of the blog.

Check at the bottom of this blog for the meaning and derivation of “flash in the pan”

It’s now been about a year since the COVID pandemic started and nine months since George Floyd’s death. Now let’s look back and look ahead.

In late April of 2020, when we entered into the second month of the COVID-19 Pandemic, I wrote a blog asking “Will corporate diversity initiatives go down the tubes during and after the pandemic?” I shared the fear that diversity initiatives would be set back decades as every diversity training session I was scheduled to lead and all my diversity consulting gigs got cancelled. I even had one client cancel a series that was already scheduled be done remotely via the web.

I also shared the concern that the stoppage may not be temporary, as when things started picking up again and budgets needed to be cut, that diversity, equity and inclusion work would be one of the first items trimmed or eliminated. I was basically resigned to it being a very poor year business wise.

George Floyd’s killing led to worldwide “Black Lives Matter” rallies including this one in Brussels.

And then George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, was chocked to death by police in Minneapolis. As the same time, other murders of black and brown people such as Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor came into public view, and since that time, additional unjustified killings of people of color have come to light. This led to a quick renewal of the Black Lives Matter movement, and protests in dozens of cities across the country and even across the world.

Then all of a sudden, the diversity topic that had been shoved under the carpet was now out again in full force, with most corporations and non-profits knowing that they had to take a stand. And the stand had to go beyond just making some kind of nice public statement, but truly addressing issues of racism, sexism, homophobia and more impacting organizations. Corporate leaders once again began to understand the compelling business rationale for a well-funded diversity strategy leading to impactful action. And business-wise, I have been busier than ever!

It is both sad and great that these awful events across our country lit a fire under organizational leaders. But now the main questions are:
• Will these efforts lead to real systemic change with metrics and measurements showing that real progress is being made?
• Will these efforts now be ongoing, or will things slowly simmer down and die, or be cut the next time an organization has a little financial blip and needs to cut something to increase profit?

Hopefully, the answer is that diversity, equity and inclusion efforts will now be long-term and driving real systemic change in businesses and non-profits, and hopefully having lasting positive impact on society as whole.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

“Flash in the Pan” means a sudden spasmodic effort that accomplishes nothing.  The origin? Flintlock muskets used to have small pans to hold charges of gunpowder. An attempt to fire the musket in which the gunpowder flared up without the bullet being fired was ‘a flash in the pan‘. The term has been used since the late 17th century.

Blog author Stan Kimer is a diversity consultant and trainer who handles all areas of workplace diversity and with a deep expertise in LGBTQ+ diversity strategy and training, Unconscious Bias and Employee Resource Groups.  Please explore the rest of my website and never hesitate to contact me to discuss diversity strategy consulting or training for your organization to help assure your diversity efforts are not a “flash in the pan,” or pass my name onto your HR department. [email protected]

 

 

 

Happy New Year! My Top 7 blogs of 2020

2020 saw a renewal of the Black Lives Matter movement superimposed with the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Every Year for the past several around New Year’s, I share my top 7 most read blogs of the year. It is really fun to go back and pull my website stats to see what people read the most. And interestingly enough, once again a few blogs I wrote several years even ago made it into the current “Top 7” List.

Quick stats about his year’s list:
• Four of the top 7 were published this year, and 3 are from previous years
• Six of the 7 dealt with some kind of diversity topic and one was around career development
• Three of the 4 blog published this year had a connection to Black Lives Matter

Here are the seven most read of 2020, starting with number 7 and working up to number one.

7) This year’s number 7 was last year’s number 3 – a blog published way back in 2011 on using career mapping as a tool for career development. This performance of a 9-year old blog certainly signals an ongoing focus on the importance of investing in skills and career development as a way to recruit and retain the best employees. You may also want to check out my 11-question Skills Development and Career Road Mapping organizational self-assessment.

6) Published in late September, Trump cancels federal racial sensitivity training – Five reasons why this is so wrong discusses Executive Order 13950, which basically attempts to curtail any discussion of the USA’s historic systemic racism.

5) Published this past June given the intersection of June being LGBTQ Pride Month and the recent protests around racism and police brutality following the killings of George Floyd and other Black and Brown Americans; Five Intersections – LGBTQ Pride Month and Black Lives Matter.

4) Also published in June, yet another example of blatant racism and sexism in American life and politics. Black Lives Matter and the $20 Bill – An Awful American Travesty. What happened to the plans to place African – American abolitionist Harriett Tubmam on our $20 bill? This story is a slap in the face to “Black Lives Matter” and women’s rights.

3) And published in July, another blog that deals with our nation’s racism and connection to our monetary currency. In “A Black Lives Matter and an American Coinage Travesty – blog 2,” I recount the sad story of a Ku Klux Klan-inspired coin.

2) With the growing number and visibility of Hispanic Americans, Number 2 for the third year in a row was “Seven Misconceptions or Stereotypes of Hispanic People”, a guest piece written in 2016 by my part-time bilingual consultant on staff, Elsa Maria Jimenez Salgado.

1) And finally, With over 5,500 hits across the two blogs were 2018’s Seven More Fabulous Out Gay Men of Figure Skating (and One Bisexual Woman) and my 2016 personal labor of love which included several personal photos that I took, “Seven Fabulous Out Gay Men of Figure Skating.”

I wish all of my faithful readers a happy 2021 and hopefully a return to normalcy both with a new more inclusive President and with multiple vaccines leading to an end to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

To stay in touch and to receive my monthly newsletter in which I summarize all blogs written in the previous month, please do subscribe to my newsletter. Or check out this page to connect to my business Facebook page or LinkedIn.