Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Power of Inclusion

I taught a workshop this morning for a group of HR professionals and recruiters.

It was a very diverse, bright, and motivated bunch. My topic was implementing equal opportunity policies, which was appropriate because the benefits of a solid program surrounded me.

If people in other countries wonder why the United States is so productive, one open secret they might explore is the extent to which the U.S. taps into the talent of people who would be excluded in other societies.

It is mind-boggling to consider practices elsewhere that say, in essence:

Women? Forget it.
Minorities? Get to the back of the line.
Gays? We'll lock you up.
Religious people: You'd better have the right religion.
Atheists: Keep quiet.
People with disabilities? We'll treat you like pariahs.
Old people: Go sit on a park bench.
Working class: Know your place.

As any American will tell you, the U.S. has its share of problems, but the idea that this is a society that suffers from savage racial, ethnic, and similar divisions is simply untrue. You can see the success in most workplaces. And that inclusion is a major strength.

No comments: