“You can put diversity into the proposal upfront with pictures or by including a diverse slate of professionals on the pitching team, but that client is going to expect to see those individuals throughout the project. If you don’t involve them in the project, this is tokenism.”

That is straight talk from Stacey Gordon, author of UNBIAS: Addressing Unconscious Bias at Work. She is executive advisor and diversity strategist of Rework Work, where she and her team counsel executive leaders on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategies, while offering a no-nonsense approach to unconscious bias education for the broader employee population.

Gordon’s unconscious bias course has consistently been the second-highest viewed course on the LinkedIn Learning platform.

According to Gordon, tokenism is also disrespectful to the professional and lying to your client. This is more than bad optics; this is horrible business ethics. But like greenwashing, which is disinformation disseminated by a business to present an environmentally responsible public image, tokenism does happen.

DEI cannot be mere window dressing; it must be an honest effort to foster more innovation and engagement that contribute to increased results.

When it comes to DEI, Chief Diversity Officer Robert Sellers at the University of Michigan has taught the importance of considering all three topics—diversity, equity and inclusion—which he famously likened to various aspects of attending a dance: “Diversity is where everyone is invited to the party, equity means that everyone gets to contribute to the playlist, and inclusion means that everyone has the opportunity to dance.”

Read the full article at Forbes.