Updated: Jun 5
The practice of diversity washing can have a negative impact on business in several ways:
1st, even a hint of diversity washing creates a lack of trust: Employees and customers who see through diversity washing efforts may lose trust in the company and its leadership. This can result in loss of business and employees leaving or quiet quitting – both of which negatively impact the bottom line.
2nd, diversity washing results in ineffective diversity and inclusion: When companies engage in diversity washing, they often miss out on the real benefits of diversity, such as increased innovation, creativity, and improved decision-making. When employees feel seen, included and appreciated, they bring their best to work, positively impacting the bottom line.
3rd, diversity washing leads to missed opportunities: By not fully committing to diversity and inclusion, companies risk missing out on potential customers and employees from diverse backgrounds. Who can afford these days to limit talent, not maximize talent?
Finally, diversity washing increases the likelihood of reputation damage: Companies that engage in diversity washing may face criticism and negative publicity, which can harm their reputation and brand image which can negatively impact their ability to increase market share and revenue.
The bottom line is diversity washing is a superficial approach to diversity and inclusion that can have negative consequences for a company's reputation and its ability to attract and retain employees and customers from diverse backgrounds. To truly reap the benefits of diversity and inclusion, companies must commit to making real changes in their policies, practices, and culture.