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Improving Diversity & Inclusion in the Workplace

With increasing globalization and the movement of people around the world, the workforce has changed and will continue to change.  In recent years we have seen the growth of women, people of color and immigrants from all parts of the world entering the workforce.  This will not change but will continue to increase and become more dynamic.  

It is too late to develop long-term diversity implementation plans. It is now a business imperative and companies need to act now if they want to be competitive and grow market share.  In fast tracking your diversity recruiting plans, I recommend the following:

 

Diversity is More Than Window Dressing

First, understand that diversity is more that just window dressing but rather involves all levels of the organization with a demonstrated practice and belief that in the organization there is acceptance and appreciation of differences.  While differences are appreciated, the organization must also be able to demonstrate that the company’s core values are what brings everyone together.  Remember, if you going to show numbers to demonstrate your diversity commitment, make sure the numbers don’t reflect a “bottom heavy, top light” scenario.  All candidates will take note of senior level diversity density.

 

Have a Common Vision for Diversity

Secondly, assess your diversity needs and understand what cultural and process changes are needed in the organization.  Understand how you define diversity and ensure all in the organization have a common vision of what is seen (window dressing) and what is not seen (management attitudes and inclusive practices).  Conduct engagement assessments to determine the organization’s attitudes and beliefs about diversity.  Where and what are the issues?  What are the beliefs of your diverse employees?

 

Establish an implementation plan that is led and delivered by senior managers.  Only senior managers can drive culture change.  All the information you need is already within your organization.  Examine all people processes such as recruitment, employee surveys, retention data and employee turnover analysis, promotions and performance review data.

The same recruiting processes and methods that did not deliver diverse candidates in the past will not deliver them in the present. Our recruiting processes must change to attract a more diverse candidate pool.

--F. Luis Buentello

Recruit Differently!

Lastly, recruit differently!  The first two suggestions require changing the organizational culture necessary to enable recruiting to deliver. The same recruiting processes and methods that did not deliver diverse candidates in the past will not deliver them in the present. Our recruiting processes must change to attract a more diverse candidate pool.  Consider the following:

  • Develop and create diverse recruiting teams who visit colleges with large numbers of candidates from different backgrounds.  In short, recruit where diversity is going to school.

  • Encourage employees to join diverse community organizations and include them in your recruiting efforts.  

  • Let employees know about vacancies and create online application processes that are easy for both internal and external applicants.

  • Ensure interviews are conducted with a diverse and trained panel.

  • Consider using a professional recruiting firm that specializes in finding diverse candidates. Ensure the firm has a proven track record and is respected within diverse groups.

In summary, a diverse workforce with employees of all abilities, creeds, and experiences do make a difference.  A diverse workforce provides you with diverse and global perspectives enabling you to interact, communicate and expand in more diverse markets, both nationally and internationally.  A diverse workforce is a low cost, high value means of developing your business in a global market.  Also, it is the right thing to do!

 

_________________________________________________________

F. Luis Buentello is the owner and President of Beacon Associates LLC.  He is an Adjunct Faculty member in the Villanova University Graduate Human Resource Development Program and the University of Maryland University College, Department of Human Resource Management.   Connect with Luis here!

 

Photo credit: Marc Falardeau

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