b'to individuals with similar backgrounds, like someone who attendedBEYOND PEOPLE the same college.Diversity isnt just about having more people of color working in Whether we realize it or not, we tend to hire and favor peoplejewelry stores, exhibiting at trade shows or climbing the ranks at the who are just like us. This is just the habit of people, he says. industrys biggest companies, although all those things should happen. Companies can diversify their employee base by changing up theirIts also, points out Caffie, the Signet executive, about diversifying hiring practices.the marketing of jewelry. Tam says many employers today require four-year degrees, evenThere is a definite sameness that dominates jewelry marketingwhen higher education isnt necessarily needed and on-the-job expe- that is to say: it depicts people who are young, white, thin, cisgender rience can mean just as much, if not more. Requiring a college degreeand heterosexual. excludes many lower-income people from applying, including manyIn Caffies division, Piercing Pagodawhich arguably caters to people of color.Signets youngest and most diverse customer basethe current mar-He also suggests trying a blind interview process, in whichketing campaign is called Be More You. the employer removes the names from all resumes and judgesLaunched in 2019 to mark the chains 50th anniversary, the cam-candidates based on qualifications alone, eliminating any potentialpaign centers on individuality and uniqueness and is not just racially bias, whether conscious or unconscious. (This is known as namediverse but also features people of different agesa rarity in any discrimination, and numerous studies have shown its a problem,kind of advertisingand body shapes and sizes while adhering to less as applicants with ethnic-sounding names get fewer calls forrigid, traditional concepts of gender, a societal evolution to which the interviews.)jewelry industry has been slow to respond. The I in DEI, which stands for inclusion, is where things canWe get very rooted in men/women, ladies/gents; thats how we get sticky.talk about our product, Caffie observes. [At Piercing Pagoda], weve It is, in DEI consultant Taylors opinion,walked away from saying mens, womens. the hardest part of all because its dealingWere walking away from that language. with the emotional, nuanced parts of aI dont think we shouldWe want customers to be themselves. I society or organization.dictate to customers whetherdont think we should dictate to Creating a culture of inclusion requiressomethings for a man or forcustomers whether somethings a white male employer, for example, toa woman. And weve gotfor a man or for a woman. listen and to understand that his experi- to be aware of that in thisAnd weve got to be aware of ence in the workplace might not be theindustry. that in this industry. same as that of a Black woman, starting Kecia Caffie, Theres also a push to with the fact that white men only infre- Signet Jewelersensure the online experience quently experience the feeling of beingis welcoming for all guests. Theyre the only one of their race and/or genderworking toward this by including models of in a room at work.different races and ages in the see it on tools on Pagoda.com so women Taylor, who is a Black woman, says shes had plenty of jobs whereof all colors can judge if rose gold works for their skin tone, for example, no one looked like hermeaning there were no other Black peopleor how an amethyst pendant is going to look against their skin. at the companyand she ultimately left because she felt like she gotThis is America today: A population thats growing increasingly pushback every time she tried to speak up. diverse and evolving its views on gender norms and roles. Its also If my co-workers make me feel othered, or if Im a constantwelcoming younger consumers who are living these changes and victim of microaggressions, then you need to listen [when I tell youexpect the companies they do business with to do the same. about it], she says. The solution isnt telling someone theyre wrongWe are changing as a country; we are changing rapidly. We [as a or asking them to validate or justify their experience. Stop. Believecountry] need to be responsive to that change, Caffie says. The mo-them. Then start finding ways to make sure that doesnt continue.ment is upon us and we need to embrace it, or we will be run over by it. (The term microaggression refers to a statement or action that was not intentionally offensive but was perceived to be so by theWHAT RIHANNA TAUGHT US person on the receiving end.) Ultimately, increasing diversityamong executives and staff, as Employers should not even bother with diversity, Taylor says,well as in the supply chain and advertisingisnt just about jumping until they have a culture of inclusion thats going to support it or areon the bandwagon to avoid public backlash or checking a box before actively working to create one. plowing ahead with business as usual.A company can do both simultaneously, but if they arent address- Its about making real changecreating companies that are more ing inclusion then diversity is a moot point.fair, inclusive and, ultimately, successful. For those interested in understanding more about their companysMcKinsey & Company, The Wall Street Journal and Boston Consult-culture, there are firmsTaylor mentioned Denison Consulting ing Group are among the organizations that have published studies show-that survey employees to give employers a better understanding ofing the link between diversity and increased revenue and profitability.the companys culture at the ground level.There are certainly a lot of business benefits to [increasing diver-What leadership usually thinks is the problem is not the problem,sity] but, at the end of the day, its doing the right thing because its she notes. the right thing [to do], says Tam. NATIONAL JEWELER 49'