We’re entitled to our data this Friday.

There’s a subculture that exists within the digital crevices of many a corporate environment. Said culture is often powered by platforms like GroupMe, Slack, intermittent group text messaging, and therapeutic venting sessions disguised as a lunch meet up.

These digital spaces are where you’ll find the true story of what it’s like for marginalized groups to work in an environment where they don’t always have the luxury of just coming to work and doing their job. I’ve been on the other end of many a hostile recantation of coworkers (mainly women of color) being overlooked for promotions despite leading the most sales in a quarter. Or being talked down to by their male counterparts despite being a long-time high-performer on their team.

I’ve participated in the eye-rolling Twitter rants critiquing how often tech and related industries tout glimmering diversity initiatives with very little follow through in creating an internal work culture that is much more inviting to minorities.

You won’t find the details of these real-time conversations splattered across company job descriptions or within highly marketed interviews with executives at the latest Silicon Valley unicorn boasting their abundance of ping pong tables, unlimited beer, and stock options. What you will find is a striking obsession with improving “diversity” by numbers and the opinion circuit on the matter leading to very little more than well-placed jargon.

“Diversity is inherently a group-level construct, and we need something that tells us about the real interactions people are having on their teams day-to-day.[…],” writes Aubrey Blanche, Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion at Atlassian. “What’s more, corporate-wide diversity assessment isn’t granular enough to accurately measure progress at large companies.” 

Blanche presents an opportunity for deeper questioning in our information gathering on diversity which rarely asks for direct feedback from the groups that could provide a deeper qualitative lens of what it’s like to work at a particular company as a person of color, LGBTQIA employee, women, persons with disabilities, and so forth. Thus far, we’re guessing and quietly leveraging press releases to make assumptions of how to move the proverbial needle from the top down.

But what if we developed assessments of the double and triple consciousness that exists within work cultures and get granular with how these groups view their work culture and manage the stresses of a day-to-day work environment where assimilation is required? We’ll need to get specific about asking the right questions of our data if we want to see real change go beyond the numbers.

What’s your take. Hit the reply button to share your experiences.


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