Decades of disparity and racial inequality have led to a global reckoning. As a result, organizations across the country are being confronted with a challenging and complicated demand for equality, inclusion, and diversity in the workplace.
This demand for equity should come as no surprise, but what is surprising is just how hard it is for companies (and individuals) to get it right. In many instances, diversity training fails, an effort to be inclusive backfires, company policies fall short, and minority employees at all levels suffer. And on a larger scale, the entire country suffers when companies are not able to retain qualified and effective talent from diverse backgrounds and perspectives.
Without effective solutions and progress, society will never truly move forward. This is why author, speaker, and equity strategist Daisy Auger-Dominguez wrote “Inclusion Revolution.” Her must-read book is an essential guide that offers companies, managers, leaders, and workers the necessary tools to actually solve the problem of racial inequality in the workplace in a realistic, effective, and approachable way.
These solutions and tools are needed more than ever.
Meet Daisy Auger-Dominguez
Daisy currently serves as Chief People Officer (CPO) for VICE Media Group. Still, her career path has included an impressive roster of positions in various companies, always pushing for diversity and inclusion at every level, and always inspired by her upbringing.
“My father’s Dominican, my mother’s Puerto Rican — but I was raised in the Dominican Republic by my paternal grandparents. I think this love of inclusion has always been with me, right from a very young age,” Daisy said. “I’ve always been surrounded by diversity — I just didn’t realize it. I went to an international school, and my friends growing up were Danish, Israeli, Chinese, and Japanese. From an early age, I valued difference and reveled in understanding the complexities of it,” she told Human Resources Director.
At a young age, Daisy admittedly struggled with “being Hispanic in the American context,” and with being put in a box that felt very limiting. And so began her lifelong journey to work for more diverse, inclusive environments for everyone in all workplaces.
After working as a credit risk analyst at Moody’s Investor’s Service, she moved on to corporate finance and eventually moved to jobs at Time Warner and then to Walt Disney, where she served as VP of Diversity and Inclusion & Talent Acquisition. That’s when Google scouted Daisy to head up their diversity staffing initiative.
“Google created a role, especially for me. Honestly, it was one of the most challenging roles I’ve ever had. At that point, we were hiring upwards of 300 to 500 people a week. I had a team of 65 that was responsible for ensuring nearly a third of that hiring enhanced our diversity representation — which was itself impossible,” she told HRD.
She later moved on to a role at Viacom, leading their talent acquisition team. She also launched her own firm with Auger-Dominguez Ventures, which focused on advising companies on creating a more inclusive workplace culture.
Today, Daisy is the CPO at VICE Media, where she is “responsible for building and retaining exceptional teams, organizational development, employee wellbeing, diversity, equity and inclusion, employee development and engagement, employee relations, talent acquisition, total rewards, corporate facilities and real estate, procurement and social impact for global teams across 20+ countries.”
As we said, an impressive roster of experiences and roles.
Daisy’s most recent venture — the publishing of “Inclusion Revolution” — is a passion project that society, especially minority working women, needs more than ever.
The Reality of Workplace Inequality Today
First, let’s take a step back. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you are probably aware that for minority workers, the playing field is far from equal in the U.S. That applies across all industries and all levels of management. People are demanding racial and gender equality in the workplace, but despite these calls for action and demands for inclusion, it’s a slow-moving path to progress.
Just look at the numbers.
According to Leanin.org, 1 in 8 women of color is a “double only” at work, meaning they are the only woman and the only person of their race in the room. They’re also more likely to experience micro-aggressions at work.
While seventy-seven percent of white employees consider themselves allies to women of color, a measly 39 percent confront discrimination when they see it. And even more shocking, only 21 percent advocate for new opportunities for women of color.
To no one’s surprise, representation of women of color is lacking at all levels of the corporate pipeline, with women of color severely underrepresented at the top of the corporate ladder across industries, according to the “2021 Women in the Workplace” report.
Welcome to 2022.
As Daisy describes it: “A world fatigued from the continuous impact of the COVID pandemic and the strain it has placed on humans, businesses and civil society. A world where inequities and long-held frustrations at work, including reshuffling home and work responsibilities during the pandemic, experienced by Black and other historically underrepresented employees and parents, especially women, have led to burnout and the Big Quit.”
The numbers don’t lie. So, now what? What can companies do? What can employees and employers do? Daisy Auger-Dominguez is hopeful that change is possible, but everyone has to be willing to put in the work.
“Inclusion Revolution,” a Guide to Helping Companies Be a Part of the Solution
Companies have a responsibility and commitment to representing the diverse population by hiring diverse employees. But it’s not only about meeting the demands for inclusion or choosing to hire diverse teams because of optics or PR. Retaining a diverse workforce has been proven to directly impact performance.
According to a recent McKinsey report, research has shown that the greater the representation, the higher the likelihood of outperformance.
In addition, a 2020 Glassdoor study found that “76% of employees and job seekers report “a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers.” This means that diverse companies are more likely to attract the best talent and have a wider pool of prospective employees.
But despite this reality, companies so often get it wrong.
Daisy Auger-Dominguez is on a mission to change that; to fix the missteps and give corporations and leaders a guide to show them the way and teach them why their past efforts have fallen short and help put them on the path to revolution.
“Inclusion Revolution” starts frank conversations, offers honest insight, and shares Daisy’s dynamic step-by-step process: Reflect, Visualize, Act, and Persist. She offers proven, research-based strategies for racially inclusive management.
So often, organizations are afraid to have tough conversations and open, honest dialogue. This book aims to provide hope where it feels lost and help workers and companies collaborate to create change.
“I believe workers and organizations can co-create the future of work together. That is, workplaces that are more equitable, just, and inclusive; workplaces that are more agile, resilient, and connected. To grow and thrive in these uncertain times, there needs to be a revolution in the top-down authoritarian structure common at traditional corporate workplaces,” said Daisy. “Organizations need to adjust and listen to new and emerging employee demands and include them in the process. Everyone needs to be part of this work.”
It’s an important distinction, this idea that to create a more diverse and inclusive working environment must come from all ends of the professional spectrum. “Trust and candor go both ways,” the author argues. “We can’t be in true trusting and productive relationships if we feel that we need to withhold information or are deathly afraid that others will be unforgiving for any misstep. When employees at all levels feel “psychologically safe” to address difficult issues or concerns, your organization is the better for it. If there is an opportunity to encourage someone to discover how their behavior was inconsiderate or harmful and how to change, a conversation – instead of a cancel social media post – can be powerful, and lead to richer and deeper relationships.”
Creating change that is meaningful and lasting requires more than just instructions. According to Daisy, it requires a shift in mindset, skill sets, and structures. But the shift can and will be gradual. “This is about taking simple, intentional actions. You don’t have to do it all at once. Just commit to one action, one practice, and do it again and again until you’re ready to do something else.”