Employers increasingly use DISC or other personality assessments to help them identify the root causes of workplace conflicts. In this post, we will explore whether the DISC Assessment can be an effective tool when implementing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) plans.
The DISC Personality Styles
The four DISC personality styles are:
Check Your Personal Biases
When you think about the different DISC personality types, who do you see? There’s a good chance that you picture someone you know and who has a similar skin color to yours.
Regardless of your race, do you think of a former white teacher or boss when discussing the dominant (D) personality style? Most people serving in these roles are white. In addition to the task focus that helps people rise to positions of authority, it takes a certain degree of opportunity that not everyone has yet. The DISC Assessment could help you identify employees who default to the D style but haven’t been given the opportunity to lead. The same goes for the other personality styles.
If exploring the compliant (C) style, do you think of the white lawyer? Or the young, white male computer technician from work?
What about influencing (I) or supportive (S) people in your life? Not surprisingly, when we think of the people-focused personalities, we tend to think of the people we have a more personal connection with, and they are more likely to be people who look like us.
These are normal human responses. Our brains pull the files that are easiest to find, much like a Google search engine. It’s what we do with the files our brains pull that matters most.
When considering your DEI goals, don’t forget to mix personality types. Most businesses will benefit from a workforce that is diverse in personality style, as well as diversity in race, sex, gender, ethnicity, religion, education, economic status, mental and physical ability, and more. The DISC Assessment can help you do another bias check before you make an employment decision.
Check for Biases in Your Processes
Did you post your executive job opening at historically Black colleges and universities (“HBCU”) and other sites that focus on underrepresented populations? Do you make assumptions about where leaders come from? If you look at the qualities most people agree “born leaders” have, you will notice that they are behavioral or skills-based, which means no one is born with them.
Are most of your salespeople under age 40? Do you value younger workers for their presumed attractiveness or technology competence? Age discrimination is the cause for 21% of all claims filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Is your male-dominated workforce supported by a Human Resources department comprised of women only? Did no men apply? Why?
Who keeps your books and manages your money? Are any of them people of color? Or women? According to Zippia, the majority of accountants are women. Slightly more than 64% of all accountants are white.
It might be easier to find a white woman to do your taxes but could be overlooking highly competent Asian (13.9%), Latinx (10.7%) and Black (8.9%) accountants. People with more introverted traits tend to gravitate to professions like accounting, law, and computer programming. They might not make themselves visible, but you can look for them in organizations such as the National Association of Black Accountants, Inc. and the Association for Latino Professionals for America.
There aren’t necessarily right answers to these questions. They are intended to get you thinking about the unique make-up of your organization, how it got that way, and where you might need to make changes.
If you see room for improvement but don’t know where to start, let’s discuss an action plan designed just for you.