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Interested in Building a Diverse Team?

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For those company leaders interested in enhancing their company’s culture to embrace diversity for business benefits, here are some results and resources to help define, build and execute your plan.

The Diversity Office Magazine put together 10 diversity best practices to help those in leadership and human resources positions to advance their cultures from what has worked for other companies.

Many of the best practices highlight the importance of making diversity part of every discussion, strategy and plan for attracting and retaining a diverse and qualified team members. With the overwhelming demands of business, many may see this as another checkbox but, there are real business values in all levels of an organization.

Jeffery Tobias Halter has recently published an excellent book, WHY WOMEN, The Leadership Imperative to Advancing Women and Engaging Men which, highlights many of the real business benefits of how organizations can harness their most valuable asset-Women. Mr. Halter shares proven data points with direct business impact in his book that can help executives and HR leaders’  craft unique business value for their organization.

In a recent article from Fast Company, How to Build and Sustain a Diverse Team, we learn about four strategies for sustaining a diverse team. One of which is getting everyone’s buy-in as to the importance and value of having a diverse team:

Some of the best examples of diversity in the workplace come from long-standing companies. Comcast actively supports the Hispanic and LGBT communities, and Western Union’s program supports domestic partner benefits coverage globally. Companies such as Google run workshops to combat potential employee biases. Fostering internal workplace education and acceptance will help you build strong workplace relationships across cultures.

My company’s collective work calls for reaching consumers of multiple ethnicities, which is impossible to do without a deep understanding of a wide range of cultures. Our team consists of more than 40 people who collectively speak 20 different languages. This allows us to reach the ever-growing group of global consumers and grow as a company. Tap into the diversity of your workplace to gain a deep understanding of your workforce and your potential customer base.

Why is this important? Well, for starters, our world is changing. Many leaders are search for their market differentiators.  There is real value to many processes of bringing together people from a variety of backgrounds and experiences to enrich the conversation and related outputs. Now with this said, people need to be in productive environments where they feel like they can equally contribute to the conversation.  So be sure not to just bring diverse viewpoints to the table but, take the time to create an encouraging culture where these viewpoints can participate without undermining their contributions.

There are many business indicators that these actions are good for businesses but, it is not always easy to make people feel included and validated.  As we know from our own careers and echoed in a recent Forbes article on April 4, 2015 by Victor Lipman: People Leave Managers, Not Companies.  There are often many corporate efforts to attract diverse talent but retaining this same talent is equally important and can directly impact your attraction efforts.

Vinay Pai, Vice President of Engineering at Intuit shares very specific accomplishments and outcomes in his recent LinkedIn post How to Be a Male Ally for Women in Technology.  Mr. Pai shares these business benefits:

“We’ve seen many benefits from the process:

  • Overall employee engagement— for men and women— has improved year-over-year to 82. And engagement scores are even higher (84+) in teams where leaders like Dave, Guy, and Madhav have been active male allies for women leaders.
  • Retention rates for women are very high in my team. Over the past two years, only one woman manager (of a population of 20+) has resigned. I still see that as my failure; but, who knows, she might return.
  • Across Intuit, we have made great progress. Women now hold 29% of all technology roles, up from 24% just a few years ago.”

There are many business indicators that this is good for businesses but, it is not always easy to make people feel included and validated.  As we know from our own careers and echoed in a recent Forbes article on April 4, 2015 by Victor Lipman: People Leave Managers, Not Companies.  There are many efforts to attract but retain is equally important and can directly impact your attraction efforts

From an article entitled Diversity as a Competitive Advantage, we learn that companies who actively seek to build a though diverse team are far more successful as well as more desirable to work at.

“Diversity in the workplace simply makes good business sense, and can bring about many benefits, including the following:

  • Improved marketing and customer service through better understanding and accommodation of diverse customer groups and their needs
  • Improved employee morale, performance, and productivity through equitable workplace practices that select, develop, and treat people based on merit and fairness
  • Improved ability to attract and recruit top talent
  • Improved employee creativity, problem-solving and decision-making through effective management of diverse perspectives and “creative conflict”

If you need some assistance to create more thought-diverse teams, we encourage you to bring in experts to help create and achieve measureable results through all aspects of attracting, retaining and building diverse teams.  Be sure there are sessions for your people that not only discusses the importance of diverse thought but provides effective tools to manage, engage and measure your key differentiator, your people.

JJ DiGeronimo

JJ DiGeronimo, a speaker, author and thought-leader for Women in Tech and Girls and STEM, empowers professional women and consults with senior executives on strategies to retain and attract Women in Technology to increase thought and leadership diversity within organizations.

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