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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Age Old Question – Contract or Full-Time?

Scenario:

“I interviewed with another company and while the full-time req was just put on hold for a bit, they wanted to know if I would be interested in contracting until the req is approved. Under any circumstances would you advise someone that currently has a full-time job (with benefits) to do a contracting gig with another company? It’s quite risky with no guarantees that the req would ever be approved, and I’d lose benefits (as I’m single). But, in the short-term, it would allow me to make some good money. Thoughts?”

For those of you having war flashbacks to the LSAT exam, I promise there is no logic or analytical thinking necessary in this piece, but it will raise some thought provoking conversation.

I was listening to CBS radio recently and an interview was conducted with the owner of a tri-state area retained search agency. The interviewee believes that many organizations will remain with a skeletal work force and hire contract support as peaks in service and product need arise. More importantly he sees this trend continuing for many years if not permanent for some companies. Makes you wonder if this one opinion outlines the future of American business.

Back to the scenario…

There are advantages and disadvantages to both options. First we need to look at the situation of the candidate.

Factors in ones decision:

Single or married?
History of family illness or disease
Debt concerns
Upcoming expenditures
Short term and long term goals (Immediate income vs. retirement income)
Stability
Growth opportunity vs pure skill niche
Training and development
Mobility

Now everyone’s favorite past time, pros and cons lists. I will admit, it has been many years since I donned such a list, but it did prove affective toward leading my career in the right direction.

Let us begin with the route of contractor:

Pros:

A. High hourly rate yields more immediate cash flow
B. Flexibility to jump from assignment to assignment
C. Immediate results. Whether you are three months or eighteen months, the likelihood is that you are
brought on to assist or lead a solution effort
D. Independence. You are your own boss. You fall under the ethics and morals guidelines of the organization
but you manage your money, taxes, hours, and career movement

Cons:

A. No long term savings factored in except by the individual (401k match, pension, etc.)
B. Typically, benefits are self provided and at a higher cost
C. Job security. It just isn’t there
D. Long term relationships. It is difficult when moving from assignment to assignment
E. Taxation law could adversely affect a self employed consultant on the FICA and Social Security
F. Not paid for holiday time off

Full Time:

Pros:

A. Job Security
B. Long term relationships in and out of work
C. Retirement planning
D. Wellness options and benefits
E. Opportunity for growth and development
F. Training assistance
G. Bonus potential
H. Paid for holiday time off

Cons:

A. Lack of overtime pay for exempt level professionals
B. Total Rewards factors in pay, benefits and other non-monetary rewards so the immediate financial gain
tends to be smaller

There we have it, the pros and cons of choosing a career path on the contract side versus full time associate. Of course there are many more we could have added to the list but it is a good baseline starting point for many.

There is no right or wrong answer. It is about personal choice, family situation and short and long term focus.
One factor that needs to play into this question moving forward is that the face of business today is changing and choices individuals and business make now may not be as black and white as they were just five to ten years ago.

Be careful as you make your next career decision because you may not be making it for yourself, but for others around you that are impacted by your choices.