Whenever someone asks us to do diversity and inclusion work, we have to stop and ask them what they mean. There are a lot of different ideas about what diversity and inclusion might include, ranging from feel good sessions to legal guidelines to bias testing.
The Atlantic, April, 2017). The test has been especially popular in Silicon Valley with companies such as Facebook and Google, because it's grounded in strong social science research showing how women and minorities are stereotyped. Yet a recent study by Michelle M. Duguid of Cornell University and Melissa C. Thomas-Hunt of the University of Virginia found surprising results about that method's effectiveness.
Implicit bias testing (https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/iatdetails.html)
seems to be a strong current fad. A recent article from The Atlantic describes this method as: "It's diversity training for the new millennium, in which people are made aware of their own hidden biases" ("Why is Silicon Valley So Awful to Women",
"Much more effective...training that focuses on
what the organization's goals are around diversity and inclusion
under the law, their policy and their values."
The researchers found that showing people their own biases, and pointing out that many people hold similar biases normalized the behavior, allowing people to decide that the beliefs they held were okay, and giving them a disincentive to change their behavior. Surprisingly, what may work instead is instituting structural changes in interviewing, as well as measuring the numbers, especially creating hiring and retention goals and rewarding managers who meet those goals. Sometimes, in the case of Intel, for example, tying meeting diversity goals to across-the-board employee bonuses ("Why is Silicon Valley So Awful to Women", The Atlantic, April 2017, pages 61-73). Intel and PepsiCo, for example, have used these methods effectively for years.
Of course, we have to be careful to make sure that goals don't turn into quotas, which are illegal in the United States, although they've been quite effective in Europe.