8 Simple Steps to Become a “Best in Class” Diversity Company / Employer

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By Mark A. Leon

There are some simple steps and slight cultural shifts needed to become a “Best in Class” Diversity employer.

Step 1:  Understand what diversity means.  Too often, we are blinded by the majority thinking that diversity is a physical attribute.  Yes, there are ethnic, disability and gender diversity differentiators, but diversity is a mix of internal and external diversity.  It isn’t just about the color of your skill or gender.  Diversity includes culture, ideas, values, beliefs, sexual orientation, religion and ways of thinking.  It is a cumulative melting pot of culture, personality, professional style, gender and limitations.  Once we understand that diversity encompasses all, we are moving in the right direction.

Step 2:  Develop a strong mission statement valued at all levels of the company.  Create a mission statement that is shared by the organization and in line with your employee value proposition

Example:  The mission of the EMPLOYER diversity and inclusion program is to grow a diverse workforce and cultivate an inclusive work environment, where employees are fully engaged and empowered to deliver the outstanding services.

Step 3: Communication.  A diversity strategy plan is only as strong as the employee base that embraces and supports it.  This communication must start at the highest levels of leadership and funnel down to the most elementary members of the organization’s family.  It is not a one -time deal.  It must re reiterated year after year and sometimes more often.

Step 4:  Create a sense of belonging.  Internal affinity groups provide a safe harbor for like groups of people with like interests to feel welcome and open to share and find comfort.  Even in a perfect world, there are individuals that will not agree with all your ideas and values.  By sponsoring networks internally to share, you are providing an escape and showing your commitment to maintaining a diverse workforce.

Step 5:  Understand the cultural make up of your organization.  How does the workforce breakdown?  What are your strengths?  What are your areas of improvement?  What direction is the organization going? How can you diversifying the workforce to help to expand the company thinking and take it to the next level?  By understanding your strength and gaps, you can begin to set goals and expectations for an effective diversity recruitment strategy

Step 6:  Set proper budget and launch a diversity recruitment team focused on university and professional diversity hiring.  Ensure the team focuses on local, national and global exercises to fulfill the diversity recruitment strategy goals.  This will include diverse job postings, conferences, diversity focused college relations, local organizational partnerships, career webinars, information sessions and tours.  The Diversity Recruitment Strategy must be:

  • Focused on consistent year after year to build long term relationships
  • Properly funded
  • Defined goals
  • Clear metrics and reporting
  • Recruitment must partner with marketing and/or employment branding to create a campaign supporting the value and advantage of a diverse workforce.

Step 7:  Share the success stories.  Nothing drives interest and engagement from the outside more than shared stories that are relatable and focused on an element of success and achievement.  Celebrate your brand as a diverse employer that values shared ideas and celebrates success stories.  This can be done through a blog, newsletter, talent community or corporate social channels.

Step 8:  Design your benefits program to allow diverse populations to maintain their religious, ethnic and holiday beliefs and celebrations.  Allow for time off even for the smallest population of the workforce.

At the end of the day, a diversity strategy is not about meeting a quota of hires, going through the motions of posting jobs to diverse niche sites to meet compliance regulations or printing a diversity and inclusion statement.  It is about acceptance, embracing new ideas and valuing inclusion from any background or walk of life.

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Bipolar Love Affair – Original Poem

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By Mark A. Leon

You and me, a perfect match
Bipolar
Racing to the sun and moon
One minute life
One minute death
In between, the space between us

A love affair insane to the eye
A quest for meaning, two stars in the sky

I hear myself saying these words
So loud, they scream, just to be heard
All the voices so loud and clear
Hoping one day you will be near

Laughing in the mirror
The truth is just an illusion
A playful pawn masquerading around the ball
A lift
A dip
A spin for good measure
But when the clock strikes midnight, it all comes to an end with no memory of the pleasure

I read your words written in the clouds
Spelled out by birds flying so very proud
They tell me it’s you watching from above
Reminding me of our true love

You and me, I hope to be
In a better place
Just wait and see

Now I sit, surrounded by me
Naked
Free
Exposed as a newborn baby

There you are, my perfect mate
In life and death and love and hate

No one knows just what we have
But they’ll always remember we made our own path

Walk With Me – Original Poem

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By Mark A. Leon

Walk with me by the Oceanside as I wrap my arms around your side
Stay with me, oh stay with me as the sun bows in the sky
Dance with me in the glow of the starlight and rescue me as I fall into your arms

Please believe, oh baby please believe, I dreamed you in my life
A fate you see, so blissfully entered this heart and it feels so right

Today I am born to this new world
A life I cannot hide
A day with you, a dream come true, I want you by my side

A partner for eternity, to laugh, to cry, to be
A friend til the end, I trust you now
A harbor safe and free

You are to me the sweetest eternity
A day, a minute, now
Perfection rests in that sparkle in your eye
A soulful glance, a second chance and now I see the light

The sun will rise a new world begun
Red letter days ahead
With you and me, I can only see a happiness all around

Walk with me, baby walk with me
I feel your love surround
Stay with me and soon we will be the luckiest souls around

Only you and me, cause we belong

A Curious Life – Original Poem

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By Mark A. Leon

I want to remember this moment just as it is
A perfect picture of time
Frozen

It’s funny how the special things in life never last
Maybe they do in this curious life

The picture albums stored in our head
The postcards with words we almost said
A vision of a time when we were so carefree
Birds in the wild flying out to sea

A curious life filled with minutes and seconds
Pressed between the books dried and preserved

In pictures and film and stories we tell
A legacy we will leave for the next generation to tell

There won’t be snow in Africa
Nor rain inside this desert
Children will pray for food while we hope for the sun to shine on our beaches
Guns kill the innocent
Greed destroys the ideals of the generous

In this curious life

Flipped upside down with terror on top
A world of mayhem led by the devil’s own
Jester and joker so wild and free
No sign of superhero to save you and me

In this curious life

We feed our mind, body and spirit with the loins of the Earth
Energy exchanged
A soul to search
A time to hope, a time to pray
Spinning out of control, a world in dismay

Here I stand, a moment so pure
Holding on tight, so secure

In this curious life

This is our time, this is our place – Original Poem

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By Mark A. Leon

Surrounded by the ones you love
Never stop dreaming
Never stop changing
Never stop embracing
Don’t stop
You can’t stop
We must not give up

It’s our party here on Earth
A toast to you
A toast to us
A celebration to last for all time
A declaration to hand down in time

It’s about you
It’s about me
I want to make a family
To hold you close, hold you tight, never let go, not too tight

This is our time
A place in the sun
Energy so strong, a future so bright
I want to be with you until the dawning of light

This is our place, here and now
A place to call home
A place to be free
A sprinkle of stars, a glimmer of light, a shower so refreshing, a snow of powder white

I love you is all I need to feel alive and let me be
A perfect storm so calm at ease
A simple kiss under these trees

Think about me, I think about you
The one I know to be this true
You are everything
Simple and pure
The special one meant for me

This is our time
This is our place
Never stop dreaming
Always embrace