Books: Overcoming Diversity RoadblocksBy
With Let Them See You: The Guide for Leveraging Your Diversity at Work, author Porter Braswell has created a primer for organizations to boost their diversity. While the book is written for people of color, its message is important for everyone to consider and apply in support of their company’s efforts to create a diverse workforce and an inclusive environment.
There’s been more action in response to the ongoing concern about the lack of racial diversity in the accounting profession. More than 40% of recent accounting graduates have identified themselves as a race other than white, according to the AICPA, yet African-Americans represent only 8.2% of the accountant and auditor workforce, 3% of professional staff, and 0.3% of partners in accounting firms, according to a survey by Howard University’s Center for Accounting Education.
Braswell begins the book by making “The Business Case for Diversity.” He cites myriad studies showing that diverse and inclusive companies greatly outperform ones that aren’t.
Braswell’s reminder that we all hold implicit biases that affect our decisions is important. It isn’t overt racism that’s the biggest problem; rather, implicit and unconscious bias handicaps our thought patterns and actions. Braswell provides insight into how to counter that, reminding us that organizations’ leadership needs to take action to reverse existing exclusionary racial norms.
He goes on to state that the best hires often come from personal referrals. Most employees refer people they know who are like themselves. If employees don’t draw from a diverse network, then organizational demographics won’t change magically.
Braswell offers tips for minorities to get noticed by recruiters. Let Them See You is about how to build a personal brand, speak up, and spur changes to the recruitment status quo. His advice for standing out is to be your authentic self, do excellent work, and get recognition for it.
This is a great book from a thought leader that’s worth reading if you’re interested in helping to create a high-performing, diverse, and inclusive culture at your company.