Thought I would share some of the research I am collecting as I dig deep into diversity hiring – not my original work, but great resources:
Hiring For Diversity
How to Encourage Diversity Between Men and Women in the Workplace:
Diversity includes all of the qualities that make us different from one another. When you allow typical gender roles to limit employees in your workplace, you increase inequality and close yourself off to potential talent. By encouraging diversity, you create a feeling of freedom, which allows both men and women to express their ideas and come up with solutions together. Employees should feel that gender diversity is a priority within the company, so you can get the most out of your available talent.
Offer flexibility with work schedules. Create an atmosphere of honesty, which allows mothers to attend their children’s school functions and dads to coach their children’s sports teams. Traditionally only mothers asked to have time off for their children. Treat employees equally and allow both mothers and fathers the same time as long as they meet client’s needs.
Measure your employee’s performance in the workplace equally. Be objective and look at a person’s work history, success, time management and results rather than their gender. When you treat employees fairly, there will be less resentment among genders, which makes them get along with one another better.
Listen when your employees have ideas. Women and men think differently and have different ways to approach things. Hold meetings and ask employees of both genders for their input. Encourage everyone to participate and put the ideas to work. Make all employees feel valued.
Pay employees equally. In spite of rules regarding pay secrecy, employees will find out what others are making. Pay men and women equally for the same job. According to Financial News, equality in pay should be in accordance with responsibility and performance and have nothing to do with gender.
Hire and train effective management. Good leaders will not show bias toward individuals regardless of race, gender, nationality or other characteristics. Provide training to help management be aware of any behavior misconstrued as gender unfairness. Women in particular will judge whether they are being treated the same as their male counterparts. It’s important that management understand what actions could be taken as prejudice.
Recruit employees based on skills and qualifications. Examine your current workforce. Make sure you represent women in all aspects of the company. Make it a point to recruit and promote women for positions on a regular basis. Women should feel they have a chance to move ahead and become successful.
Forms of Diversity in the Workplace:
Workplaces tend to mirror one of the characteristics of the United States — they are melting pots where differences make them stronger. Diversity often refers to race and gender, but there are many forms of diversity at work. As a manager, having a diverse crew can give you multiple perspectives, but it can also be a challenge when different cultures collide. As an employee, it’s easy to be misunderstood if you’re in the minority, but it also means you can bring fresh ideas to the table based on your experiences.
Race and Gender
The two most common forms of diversity are also the most obvious when you walk into your workplace. You can immediately see differences in race and gender without knowing anything else about the people. These two factors lead to different experiences that can broaden the scope of your team; a black woman might have a very different view of the impact of an ad campaign than a white man, for example. The differences can sometimes lead to conflict, but they can also spark new ideas that a homogenous group might never come up with.
Culture and Religion
You can’t tell anything about a co-worker’s culture or religion just by looking at her. People often have a strong emotional connection to their heritages and religions, making this a hot point in diverse workplaces. For example, if most employees follow a mainstream religion and want to celebrate a major religious holiday, employees of different religions might feel offended or excluded. Conversely, as a manager, you might not understand when an employee from a minority religion asks for time off for a religious holiday you’re not familiar with.
Especially during a recession economy, you’re likely to find several generations working in the same office, as the older generation delays retirement. You might have women pushing age 70 working side-by-side with co-workers young enough to be their granddaughters. Each generation typically has its work ethic and style, which can cause dissension among the ranks when the styles clash. However, experienced workers often have great wisdom and tenacity, while the fresh-out-of-college types bring new and trendy ideas. It’s good for the company to value workers of all ages.
Businesses accommodate physical disabilities whenever possible, bringing another level of diversity to the workplace. Some disabilities are obvious, such as someone in a wheelchair, while others, such as chronic fibromyalgia, aren’t as noticeable. Accommodations might be as simple as an ergonomic chair or keyboard tray or as complicated as installing a ramp or wheelchair lift.
Education and Life Experience
An employee’s education level and life experiences help to define who she is, how she sees the world and how she relates to co-workers. Someone with a master’s degree might have difficulty finding something in common with a high school graduate. Also, a former stay-at-home mom might have different opinions and ideas from a woman whose main focus has been to climb the corporate ladder. Income levels add another form of diversity, with the “haves” and the “have nots” viewing issues from different perspectives.
Signs of Diversity in the Workplace:
It’s no secret that in a country as diverse and multicultural as the United States, the workplace works best when diversity is celebrated. When workers of different ages, races, cultural backgrounds and beliefs work together, employees are happier, the community is better served and companies show that they are about more than just the bottom line.
A Positive Effect
Diversity in the workplace is as good for the staff as it is for management. A 2002 report by the University of Florida found that in companies that celebrate and respect a diverse staff, productivity and creativity among employees goes up. A sensitive workplace also lessens the likelihood of lawsuits by creating a fair and safe environment in which everyone has access to the same opportunities and challenges.
Business today is global, so doesn’t it make sense that a well-diversified staff would put your company in a better position to reach out to a planet full of potential customers? According to a July 2012 report by the Center for American Progress, companies that hire workers from various backgrounds not only draw from a broader pool of top-shelf candidates, they can more effectively market to customers and communicate with clients from different cultures, backgrounds and languages all over the world.
Support from the Top Down
A company is only as strong as those who run it. When it comes to diversity in the workplace, managers can do many things to make sure the company is on the right track. Social gatherings and business meetings that give every employee the chance to speak — and listen — to each other can create open dialogues. Mentoring programs and sensitivity training for managers also go a long way toward a safe, productive and creative workplace.
Life Outside the Office
Companies today realize that employees have personal lives and families to take care of. The Wall Street Journal reports that benefits such as onsite daycare, childcare subsidies and flexible schedules show employees that their employers are willing to work around important aspects of employees’ lives. And companies that accommodate cultural and religious holidays and celebrate cultural events with fun events like international movie nights also make for great, diverse workplaces.
Why Is Workplace Diversity So Important in Today’s Business Environment:
Walk down any major metropolitan street on a weekday and notice the diversity of people rushing to and fro, hurriedly going to work, school or running errands. Old and young, women and men, people of all nationalities are looking to get in on business opportunities globally. Encourage and maintain workplace diversity that reflects the diversity you see in the community around you to secure a successful edge in today’s cut-throat business world.
The Best and the Brightest
Open up your hiring pool, extend your recruiting feet into diverse communities, and watch the pool of highly qualified applicants rapidly expand. Recruit at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s), job fairs at diverse places of worship, and other events aimed at people who your company has not traditionally reached in the hiring process. Instead of the same pool of workers you’ve been hiring from for years, your business will receive an influx of other qualified candidates, adding to the competitiveness of your hiring process. When you include everyone in your workforce, you end up with the best and the brightest available, whether you’re looking for engineers, sales representatives, or teaching staff. Your company may just secure a reputation as the place to do business when you want the best of the best.
Perceptions, Perceptions, Perceptions
In a Forbes survey from 2011, 85-percent of respondents report the perception that diversity in the workplace is key to innovation. People perceive your diverse company as being innovative and want to do business with you. When navigating our global economy, diversity gives your team the edge of seeming more approachable and easier to work with than companies that do not strive to be inclusive. Focus on diversity in your workplace to foster client and business-partner perceptions that aid in the growth and prospering of your company and all who work to make it great.
Hook Your Customers
More diverse companies have the power to reach and capture a greater percentage of consumers. Instead of marketing towards and communicating with people of a certain age, gender, race or ability, all of a sudden, your company is also reaching families from the new immigrant
community down the street, the multicultural church whose attendance has exploded, and the posh assisted living facility in the neighboring town. You are no longer restricted to hooking one type of customer and your expanding customer base can mean only one thing: expanding profits.
The Bottom Line
Economic growth and diversity go hand in hand. Whether it is the hiring process or securing customers, your company’s bottom line depends on your ability to navigate a diverse cultural landscape effectively, inclusively and enthusiastically. Open doors make your company the place where people want to work, do business and contribute their dollars to your company’s financial success.
Goals for Diversity in the Workplace:
Workplace diversity goes beyond hiring Millennials and Baby Boomers to do the same job. It’s about creating a company culture of different ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations and abilities so that employees appreciate co-worker differences. Brad Karsh, president of Chicago-based JB Training Solutions, works with employers to enhance business skills. He says companies that set and attain workplace diversity goals have productive employees who are happy, career-driven and loyal.
Offer Employee Training
When employees of all abilities, skills, genders and races are given equal training opportunities, employers see an increase in productivity, job satisfaction and company morale, Karsh says. Companies wanting to diversify should offer additional education to employees, such as paid courses from a nearby college or online school, job-enhancement seminars and a strong mentoring program. Employees without proper training have less company loyalty and more workplace frustration, says Douglas N. Silverstein, a Los Angeles-based employment and labor law attorney at Kesluk & Silverstein, P.C. Also, without training, friction between management and employees is more likely.
Put a stop to discrimination by insisting that all executives and managers get harassment and sensitivity training. To create a diverse workplace, the human resources staff should carefully consider candidates who may not be obvious contenders. Women who desire warehouse work, a woman with an accent wanting a sales manager job or a young man applying at a department store make-up counter are examples of people who may not initially seem qualified, but who may possess skills and have life-experiences that are in line with the position. By ending both subtle and obvious discriminatory practices, employers have a better chance at recruiting and retaining the right candidates.
Embrace Employee Differences
Employers who embrace generational, gender and cultural differences have teams with greater synergy. When a team is responsible for creating an advertising campaign appealing to the mass market, for example, it helps to have employees who can bring ideas to the table based on different cultural backgrounds, work and life experience, and job skills. A woman with a learning disability can succeed at a writing job with the help of a tape recorder and extended deadlines; a man in a wheel chair is an efficient delivery man when given the proper vehicle; and an employee from a different country just may be the ticket to scoring a new, global client.
Hire Based on Skill
A diverse workplace culture happens when a company makes a commitment to hire and promote people based on their qualifications and desire to learn, not personality or nepotism. It’s not right for a pretty woman without sales experience to get a coveted sales job simply because she’s attractive, or a workplace that has a “boys’ club” mentality to toss aside applications from qualified women. And, it’s crucial to workplace diversity that a qualified, younger-generation manager be considered for an executive position, even though her subordinates will be older. Her tech-savvy knowledge, efficient communication skills and open-to-change attitude can benefit the company’s bottom line.