For decades, the diversity and inclusion mantra in workplaces was that having a critical mass of an underrepresented population would propagate sustainable diversity and result in inclusive workplaces; however, reality did not comport with that mantra. Many companies found that while they may have achieved some relative success in the lower levels of their employee hierarchies, they were also experiencing high levels of attrition among underrepresented groups. Workers in these groups were leaving the company while the rest of the workforce was advancing from lower levels into management and leadership positions. In other words, a focus on getting diversity did not automatically result in keeping it.
In the last ten to fifteen years, research in the areas of diversity and inclusion has unequivocally found that while changing who you hire is important in diversifying your workplace, improving how you treat and manage your employees from underrepresented groups plays an even larger role in creating sustainably diverse workforces and inclusive workplaces. Importantly, the activity that creates the greatest positive momentum in the way you treat and manage people is how you provide feedback.