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Posts Tagged ‘results’

If you can’t tell by the title, I am a little bit ticked! I’ve just gotten off the phone with a close friend who managed to get me all stirred up about the intersection of these three topics: diversity, lip service, and incompetent hiring. She works for a company that I won’t name (Texas, oilfield services, etc.) but the company was cited publicly for its lack of diversity so they panicked. The organization went on a hiring crusade and for the next several months, everyone hired was a person of color with little thought as to whether the individual was the most suitable candidate for the position! That’s where incompetent hiring enters the picture! The eventual outcomes should reflect more harshly on the hiring parties than the ones hired but it’s not often that companies look back that far to determine where things may have gone wrong. 

Diversity is extremely beneficial to an organization if approached thoughtfully. There should be little reason to recite that an organization which has leveraged diversity in terms of talent, perspectives, and problem-solving approach, not just headcount, will be more successful over the long-term. I just wanted to say it as a reminder. Yet here lies the rub, many companies have not approached diversity in the most thoughtful manner. For the company mentioned above, it was treated as a numbers game which has yet to yield positive results for the company nor for the individuals who struggle to succeed in positions for which they are simply not suited. Maybe that was the malevolent intent. However, I have a hard time conceiving of an organization which would chose to place profit in jeopardy in an attempt to abase any group of people.  So that leaves me with the belief that the organization simply did not put enough thought into this important aspect of its business. Let’s imagine that the likely scenario was that the CEO informed his/her top HR executive to “do something” about the lack of diversity. S/he then informed the recruiting team to “do something” about it. The recruiting team then set about furiously recruiting diverse candidates under fire and rather haphazardly rather than working diligently to identify the candidates most suited to the roles being filled. At this point, the one thing I’m certain of is that no one sat down to develop a plan for addressing the lack of diversity from a strategic point of view. Given that, there could not have been the slightest thought towards finding ways to truly leverage its value.

Companies have appeared to support diversity initiatives publicly while actually disregarding it in ways that matter.  That’s merely giving lip service to the issue. They thought they had to say or do something or risk appearing backward. After all, everybody else appeared to be on the diversity bandwagon. These organizations rolled out “trophy” programs with buttons and posters that had very little substance to them and minimal staying-power. Current employees saw through the programs and tolerated them as a company public relations requirement. Programs like this look good on the careers page of the website but not in the numbers of the annual report.

The annual report holds most of the numbers that seem to matter to organizations. Companies merely need to look around to know that the numbers in the annual report can be positively impacted through a more diverse workforce. Catalyst, the workplace research group, recently studied 353 Fortune 500 companies and found that those with the most women in senior management had a higher return on equities — by more than a third.  Also, a Glass Ceiling Commission report found a direct relationship between stock market performance and the diversity, in gender and race, of the workforce. When treated as a valued asset, diversity and the different perspectives that are inherent with it, allow organizations to more easily solve problems, make better decisions, and therefore get better results.

Organizations do not have to settle for surface-level diversity initiatives versus real results. Organizations that engage with all staff from the start and measure the right stuff (solutions and unique ideas, not just headcount) can leverage the diversity within their employee populations for better business outcomes. It just takes more effort than moving your lips and walking people through the door to get those outcomes.

Interested in really making a difference and not just sitting pretty? Visit Mora&Associates at http://morahr.com/diversityvalue.aspx.

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