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In our last post, we discussed the importance of valuing workplace diversity and inclusion. The term "workplace diversity" has been in use for some time, but "workplace inclusivity" can have some of us scratching our heads. While diversity introduces variety to your team, an inclusive work environment is one that allows employees to truly be themselves.

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You might think: people can always be themselves in our office, but there are often instances where an employee feels uncomfortable revealing certain information about themselves. Situations all too common in the office: a woman eliminates family photos from her desk to avoid seeming "serious" about her job, or a man takes vacation time for doctor's appointments to avoid indicating he's working through some mental health issues. These are only a couple examples, but "identity covering" is a frequent tactic in the workplace. A Deloitte University Leadership Center for Inclusion resport found that 61% of employees "cover" at work, meaning they aren't necessarily hiding something, but may be downplaying it in fear of attracting unwanted attention.

How to create a diverse and inclusive workspace? We'll get you started.

Share your story and be available for theirs.

When struggling at work or outside of work, open up about it. Talk about your life. Be honest about what you did over the weekend, and ask the same of your team. Revealing bits of your personal life displays openness and vulnerability, allowing your employees to feel welcome and free from judgment. Don't hide pieces of yourself, and you can expect the same from them.

Create a path for advancement.

In a diverse workplace, not all employees have informal networks among their superiors. It's important to have a path in place for someone to move up the ranks with achievements and recognition.

Establish diversity and inclusion programs.

If your team is large enough, creating joinable groups to unite people across the company can be a great way to allow space for discussion and incorporate feedback processes to larger topics. Consider the wheelchair-friendliness of your office, and give thought to perhaps adding gender-neutral restrooms. Evaluate the diversity of leadership at your organization. Involving your employees in the design and implementation of any further diversity or inclusion programs ensures future efforts are time well spent.

Be intentional about meetings.

Who is running your team meetings? How diverse are your project teams? Eliminating a day-to-day bias is the first stage of creating an inclusive environment. Being aware of meeting and team composition is important.

Categorize your numbers.

Employee satisfaction surveys and focus groups show your intentions are in the right place, but you shouldn't let above average reviews make you complacent. Statistically, the majority's views will overpower that of the minority, so take a look at the data separated into smaller categories. A great example is a Harvard Business Review study of a global law firm: while half of the firm's employees were women, only 23% of the firm's partners were female. Further segmenting their survey data, HBR discovered women didn't want to be partner as often as men. A follow-up survey revealed there were strategies to increase the number of female partners, by making some small changes.

Diversity and inclusion in the workplace is an ongoing discussion that continues to change with a shifting workforce landscape, but one thing is clear. Providing a diverse environment that allows people to be who they are will increase productivity and ultimately improve your business.

 

https://hbr.org/2019/02/survey-what-diversity-and-inclusion-policies-do-employees-actually-want

https://hbr.org/2014/11/help-your-employees-be-themselves-at-work

https://hbr.org/2018/12/to-retain-employees-focus-on-inclusion-not-just-diversity

https://theundercoverrecruiter.com/benefits-diversity-workplace/

 

Posted: 11/22/2019 10:11:45 AM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


Hearing the phrase "diversity in the workplace" prompts thoughts about the importance of hiring people with different ages, gender, abilities, races, sexual orientation, backgrounds, and even more, right? While hiring a staff that varies in all of these areas is very important, there's also a new workplace must-have in town: inclusion. Hiring a diverse team is the first step, and making them feel comfortable and accepted in their workspace is next. Whether it's providing an environment where a gay employee would feel comfortable bringing their partner to a work event, or offering gluten-free alternatives for a work lunch due to dietary issues, you support your employees by valuing their lifestyles.

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Today's young workforce sees diversity and inclusion as more than a legal or moral obligation; to them it is a sign of a strength.

Companies need to prioritize diversity and inclusion in order to retain employees and maintain company satisfaction. In this post, we'll talk a little about why, and in our next post we'll tackle just how to do it.

You better understand your customers. 

Having different opinions and backgrounds on your own team offers a more accurate representation of your customers. After all, there's no one person who represents a nation. Americans come in all shapes and sizes, as they say, and it's incredibly valuable to have many types of people involved the creation of a project.

You open up your client base.

Language skills, outside of English, open doors. Representation of minorities as people of power in your business, opens doors. Diversity in your staff shows you acknowledge the diversity of the world and may provide a gateway to international and global clients.

Employee performance improves.

People want to work in an inclusive workplace. And when they feel included, they are more engaged. More engagement means employees are bouncing ideas off each other more frequently so innovation increases. It's a win-win.

It's the new norm.

We long for a day when diversity and inclusion efforts aren't extra or special programs, but for now, your business must have a plan or risk being left in the dust. It is, simply, the direction the world is going, and the path on which to stay relevant and change for the better.

Posted: 11/4/2019 2:54:51 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


A new hire is a big deal. A piece of an unfinished puzzle. A chance to add valuable skills and great energy to your team. Meeting a candidate in an interview is a great first impression, but let's be real: you're meeting their Best Self, not necessarily their Real Self. A potential hire will tell you everything you want to hear, but trying to cut through the fluff can be a challenge.

Enter: the reference.

A reference, usually a former boss or coworker, is your key to getting the real story on your potential candidate. They have shared workspace, email correspondence, and project managements with them, and probably know a thing or two about what makes them tick. With such a valuable resource at your fingertips, make sure you use your time wisely – asking them these questions will offer a glimpse into this new hire.


1) What motivates them?

Are they driven by deadlines? Pushed by penalties? Encouraged by esteem-boosts? Find out what gets them going from someone who knows, and ensure you're pushing your new employee to their full potential in a way that works.

2) What was their role on the team?

In this case, we aren't talking about their technical role, but more or their social role. Every workplace has its own dynamic, and employees naturally find their place from the start. Are they the idea initiator or more likely to let the brainstorm session sit and simmer? Maybe they keep the mood light in meetings. Maybe they're a bit of a morale drag. Who knows? You'll have to ask.

3) In what area would they need support during their first few months?

This is a crucial question for planning your next quarter. Get a sense of your potential hire's problem areas and you won't be caught off-guard when some subpar skills show up later.

4) Can you name a situation when this candidate has gone above and beyond?

The answer to this question won't be as revealing as the speed at which it is answered. If an instance is recalled quickly, you can assume the candidate goes beyond their expected duties fairly often.

5) Would you hire them again?

Perhaps the most important question to ask, the answer to this sums up the reference's overall impression of the candidate and indicates whether this person is worth hiring or not. Whether the answer is yes or no, be sure to press for an explanation.

6) What conflicts did they have? How were they resolved?

As they say, "beautiful sunsets don't exist without cloudy skies." There's a chance even the most attractive candidate has had some clouds in their professional past. Learn more about how your candidate responds to pressure and conflict with a question that's bound to get an interesting response.

When dealing with a potential new hire, don't make any assumptions. Put some effort into your discussions with references, and get the valuable information for making your decision!

Posted: 9/24/2019 12:29:26 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


This week, media outlets announced that unemployment applications are at their lowest since 1969. With sluggish consumer and business spending, this is a promising sign, suggesting companies are retaining employees.

In a market that leans heavily in favor of candidates, companies have to sell themselves as a desirable place of employment. Stocked fridges, company outings, and above-standard benefits are one thing, but there are better ways to attract top talent than throwing perks in their direction.

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Know what you want from a candidate.

If you want employees to be in it for the long haul, offer benefits that reflect this. Incremental increases in vacation and sick time, generous parental leave (or any parental leave, these days), and opportunities for candidates to advance at the company all favor a longer term employee. Mile marker incentives can also be very effective: try a bonus week of vacation for the fifth year of employment at the company, or something similar.

If you're in search of a continuous wave of fresh-faced innovative candidates, emphasize the importance of their role in current projects. Offer opportunities to travel and tell them about your post-work happy hours.

Be good at what you do.

The best way to attract the best people? Be the best company. We know, we're oversimplifying, but having a successful business will attract better candidates than adding ping pong tables to your break room. Simply put: people want to work at companies that are doing well. If you're the best that's out there, you won't have to work hard to emerge as a frontrunner for top talent.

Be straightforward.

A job posting should be detailed, clear, and concise, putting all requirements and responsibilities at the forefront. The actual position should meet any expectations made from the job description, to allow candidates to identify opportunities for their skills to really shine. They know what they could bring to the table, and being aware of all facets of the job beforehand means they can provide insight into their purpose and strengths in the role.

Check with your own Top Talent.

You know who's perfect for bringing in great candidates? Great employees! Offer a referral bonus to your team and have your best people scour their networks to fill the open position. They're aware that any referral reflects on their judgement, so no worries about your team suggesting just anyone in hopes of bringing in some bonus money – only their top choices will make it to your desk. Asking them to connect you shows you value their opinion, but compensating them somehow shows just how much. Plus, you'll be hiring someone who already gets along with at least one person on your team!

It can be a challenge to attract stellar job candidates, but we'll help you make it easier! Have you tried any of these tips?

Posted: 4/11/2019 11:25:25 AM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments