When diversity efforts fall flat

Wells Fargo and Netflix are both facing criticism for diversity efforts that seem to hurt more than help.

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As Walmart deals with backlash over its attempt to commercialize Juneteenth with ice cream, other brands are being called out for dubious diversity initiatives.

Wells Fargo…

… adopted an informal policy in 2020 that required the company to interview at least one woman or person of color (POC) for jobs with salaries $100k+, per The New York Times.

But several current and former Wells Fargo employees say that meant some candidates sat through bogus, time-wasting interviews for positions that had already been filled.

One Black wealth manager was submitted to fake interviews twice, according to an ex-employee. The man was eventually hired in 2018 in a more junior role, then laid off during the pandemic.

Meanwhile, at Netflix…

… the streamer’s loss of 200k subscribers and plunging stock prices have led to layoffs.

Many recent layoffs at Tudum, Netflix’s entertainment website, included women and people of color who said they’d been lured away from stable jobs just four months before they were let go.

And last week’s layoff of ~150 full-time employees and several contractors included many employees who worked on channels dedicated to POC and queer audiences, per The Los Angeles Times.

Netflix also canceled shows in production like “Boons & Curses,” an animated series with an all-South Asian writers room and voice-over cast that Netflix previously hyped as part of its AAPI programming.

Layoffs often disproportionately affect women and POC…

… when diversity is not spread throughout an organization, and because they are more likely to be contractors, per Protocol. That means companies must be conscientious with their efforts — not just what they look like on paper.

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