Workforce Diversity Does Not Equal Affirmative Action

The United States Olympic Committee has introduced measures to address the fact that its workforce is not reflective of the demographics of the Colorado Springs community where it is located.  This diversity effort, commonly seen as an organizational best practice, is apparently not popular with Colorado Springs Gazette editorial page editor, Wayne Laugesen.  Accompanying his critical article was the following online poll asking readers if the “USOC should give preference to minorities” as part of their hiring process.

Regardless of implementation, affirmative action along with Equal Employment Opportunity laws are designed to support diversity. They are not synonymous with it, as Laugeson’s polling language would suggest.  Workforce diversity is a strategy for increasing an organization’s competitiveness in a global marketplace.  Moreover, it is much harder to implement than the hiring quotas Wayne is suggesting: Attracting and retaining racial and ethnic minorities, females and people with different abilities requires committed effort and innovation.  And, in the case of Wayne’s world, overcoming ignorance of the issue.

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