What Smart Companies Do

“DEI” Must Die

What Smart Companies Do
An example of useless diversity (Photo by Markus Spiske / Unsplash)

Four things which companies wanting to attract intelligent employees do:

  1. They have no dress code.
  2. They do not have sexist or racist hiring practices. Yes, this especially includes most so-called “diversity” (also known as D&I, DEI or DIE) programs.
  3. They have no bias against rehiring previous employees, sometimes called “boomerang employees,” and they might even be proactive on this front.
  4. Unless the job requires otherwise, they allow you to work from any physical location.

Many companies fail the sanity test on one or more of these items; the worst companies are those just now embarking on instituting one or more of these thoroughly discredited ideas. Imagine thinking it’s a good idea to say “let’s make people wear certain clothes” or “let’s seek out people to hire based on which genitals or skin colour they have!”

To be sure, both of these might sound like brilliant ideas—much like Communism, or “opening” your marriage—unless you are able to think critically. I can only assume that such companies are capitulating out of a misplaced fear of the infinitesimal number of people who actually believe in any of this nonsense.

Dress Code

The dress code point is almost too obvious to explain, beyond saying that if you need to wear a tie (or pants, or whatever) to “feel professional” then you are, simply put, not bright—probably not bright enough to do the job you’re doing. If people wear cut-off shorts, or sandals, or whatever—unless it affects safety—what does it matter, and why are you so small-minded to care about it? If you work for a company where the customers are small-minded in this way...well, in that case, I pity you.

I’ve worked in a firm where some of the bosses literally wore a dirty t-shirt, shorts, and flip-flops to work. Did the work suffer? No. Small minds, big dress code. I’ve heard the counter-arguments. They are all stupid. Do I trust a person in a t-shirt to be my financial advisor? Well, do they know how to make me money and explain investing to me? Yes? Then a t-shirt works just fine. “BUT WHAT IF SUSY (OR BOBBY) WEARS A REVEALING TANK TOP AT WORK?" So what. Stop being so distractable and grow up.

I once worked for a company which did not restrict web access. Guess how many people got fired, during a five-year period, for abusing Facebook privileges? ONE. Out of ~200. As with web access, so with dress codes. This stuff is so easy, you have to make it difficult on purpose.


At one time in the not-so-distant past, a well-known tech company (which shall remain nameless) publicly posted:

We’re moving away from the idea of “diversity” in order to build balanced teams. Our 2018 State of Diversity Report showed that people associate the word “diversity” with underrepresented people, which is getting in the way of progress. Why? It subtly suggests that people from majority groups aren’t a part of diversity, which isn’t correct or right. We’re trying to build teams where people can bring their unique viewpoints, and know that they’re valued. We’re trying to build balanced teams. We believe that helps everyone feel like they have a stake in the conversation, and helps create greater incentives for people to be involved.

I fundamentally disagree with the entire premise of “diversity,” and with some of that company’s points; but at least they grokked the main negatives of most so-called “diversity” programs. I think, probably, the correlation between “diversity” and high performance is similar to this. Put another way, the idea that diversity=good is most likely a classical post hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy. One working theory is that companies which do well also happen to be more diverse in real ways—as opposed to the fake ways most half-baked companies push—but that this is because various kinds of people are attracted to successful endeavours. This is obvious.

I have worked for such a company—one that did well by many measures which was also actually diverse, meaning there were people from various backgrounds, countries, educational levels, ages, different styles of intelligence, approaches to work, etc. This real, organic, diversity was energising. This same company also engaged in nepotism, sexism, and ethnicity-based hiring practices. These practices often resulted in lower-quality employees. This is exactly as you would expect, when you are making hiring decisions based on something other than ability, attitude, and other attributes relevant to job performance.

Most of the fake diversity being pushed today, while it gratuitously mentions age, veteran status, sexual orientation, religion, education, and sex*, does not attempt to hire based on those qualities. Instead, it hires based on [perceived] race and sex—and, increasingly, “gender identity,” a strictly invisible, not to mention imaginary, condition.

“What do you mean, Tom K?” you may be asking yourself.

Well, in the States, it’s “illegal” to ask certain questions or to hire or not hire someone on the basis of certain attributes. Therefore, in spite of the talk about wanting, say, religious diversity, it is not legal to hire someone because they are Catholic. Or to hire someone because they are straight, white, or unhinged.

On the other hand, the discrimination laws are essentially meaningless. I have witnessed people not being hired because they were obese, atheist, or female. People are fired for being pregnant; people hire their friends; they hire or don’t hire people because they have brown or pink skin, are Jewish or Muslim, gay, straight, or whatever. This proves that people are sometimes biased and make stupid decisions, regardless of any law to the contrary. Why the fake talk about “diversity” when it really just means, very specifically: WE ARE GOING TO HIRE MORE PEOPLE WHO ARE CONSIDERED “BLACK” OR WHO ARE FEMALE, WHETHER THEY ARE QUALIFIED OR NOT.

[Note: I said only “black,” and not “brown,” or “Asian,” because Asians and other non-“black” groups are specifically NOT generally promoted for hiring in many of today’s fake-diversity rampages. Some “brown” people and Asians are far too successful, collectively—just as, collectively, Jews and Muslims are—to be considered “aggrieved” enough to qualify for special treatment. Nigerian immigrants are also, collectively, too successful, but we don’t talk about them, because they are “black,” and that would disprove the narrative that systemic racism is why some people do not succeed. (I did not claim the rules made any sense.)]

To some extent, diversity of attributes such as age, experience, and education can improve the mix and lead to better outcomes—within certain constraints, such as being of legal work age and knowing how to read. Don’t laugh: I’ve worked with people unable to read with enough comprehension to do the job. (Guess what “races” they were? That’s right, some were “white” and some were “black” and some were from Asia!) Almost all companies on the “diversity” trajectory today are simply using racism and sexism to determine whom to hire. Do problems of racism and sexism exist in the society, including in the workplace? Sure. Is more racism and sexism a good solution to anything? Probably not, unless your goal is to create more division.

Boomerang Employees

You can find a lot of articles about boomerang employees. Long story short: previous employees are a known quantity, already know how your company works, and probably have a better attitude toward your company now than when they left (or why would they bother to come back?) Most such employees have good reasons for having left, such as an intolerable boss, needing to relocate, wanting to make more money (usually easier to do by changing companies), etc. For what it’s worth, I have been a boomerang employee, and I have seen more than one boomerang employee elsewhere, including one who left and came back at least twice. If your company management is categorically against this practice, then your company management has a screw loose.

Remote Work

Unless the job involves performing physical tasks in a specific location, it goes without saying that the option to work from any location is a big selling point if you are trying to hire the best people. This one is so obvious that I will not even bother to explain it here.


If you made it this far, thanks for reading! My goal is to make you think. Hopefully you’re not offended. If you are, good luck with that...I don’t believe in the concept, generally speaking. 🙂

Meanwhile, I encourage you to speak up about these and other “controversial” issues—at work, at home, and in your community—when you can, and to vote with your feet when you cannot!

*Meaning normal, classic gender, not the made-up kind currently in vogue among some people.

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