In Google memo aftermath, article emphasizes business case for diversity

August 17, 20171 minute read

An article in Wall Street Journal following the memo written by the Google engineer criticizing diversity initiatives suggests that much of the resulting commentary misses the point by ignoring the business case. The author, Christopher Mims, reiterates the findings that “More diverse companies have better financial returns, are more innovative and are just plain smarter than their more homogenous competitors.”

The article quotes Aubrey Blanche, head of diversity and inclusion at enterprise software company Atlassian: “Company cultures that are unfriendly or even hostile to women and minorities not only lead to less diverse workforces, but they also harm the performance of the women and minority employees they do have.”

The author also points to a “meritocracy paradox” in which managers counter the business case for diversity by suggesting, instead, a meritocracy “where reward is proportional to effort and ability alone should be immune from the need to promote diversity or reduce bias in hiring, promotion and bonuses.” The problem is, according to the author, that true meritocracies don’t exist, and he points to several studies to prove the point.

The article concludes, “What’s needed is for companies to undertake the hard work of transparency, accountability and organizational change.”